BEIJING, March 27 (UPI) -- The Chinese government is considering a measure to ban cigarette sales on May 31, World No Tobacco Day, officials said.
In addition to the ban, which has been called a symbolic measure, officials are looking to add to the list of areas where smoking is prohibited. The anti-smoking draft regulation will be published Friday for public review.
The draft also would ban in outdoor areas at hospitals and universities, as well as ticket offices and waiting areas in bus and rail stations.
Suo Chao, spokesman for the Chinese Association for Tobacco Control, said the well-meaning World No Tobacco Day ban will not curtail smoking in the country, which has the third-lowest tobacco tax rate in the world.
"It's well-meant but hardly any effect can be shown from a one-day resolution," Suo told China Daily.
China is the world's top tobacco producer, home to 35 percent of the world's smokers. About 1.2 million Chinese die of tobacco-related diseases every year.