by Max Barry

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Region: Geopolity

World's Strictest Tobacco Control Law passed in Qing China

The Board of Works has recently passed a Plain Tobacco Packaging law, effective immediately across Qing China. Plain tobacco packaging, also known as generic or neutral packaging, requires the removal of all branding, such as bright colours, corporate logos and imagery, and standardising the appearance of all tobacco packs. This law makes it mandatory for manufacturers to exclusively print the brand name in a predetermined size, font and place on the pack, in addition to the health warnings.

The removal of branding on cigarette packaging aims to deter smoking by making packets look "more boring, monotonic and increases negative perceptions with regards to the consumption of tobacco". It also aims to remove an available avenue of brand advertising for cigarette companies, which significantly contributes to youth uptake. Evidence in the form of 24 studies in Australia has pointed that plain packaging is seen as less attractive by prospective buyers, and has a significant impact on driving down demand.

The President's Office stated that "it was going to pass the law on May 31st, in remembrance of the WHO's World No Tobacco Day, but that would seem like a [dick] move on our part, and maybe we might be seen as rubbing it in a little."

The State Tobacco Monopoly Administration, China's state-run monopoly-cum-government agency responsible for tobacco regulation, has stated it will comply with the new law.

The Board of Rites has set out new plain packaging requirements as follows, including additional provisions made during the course of legislation:

  • Each cigarette package is required to hold 25 cigarettes, an increase in capacity compared to the prior unofficial capacity of 20 cigarettes.

  • The price of all cigarette packets sold in China will be standardised at $50 RMB ($7.06 USD), approximately a sixfold increase in price in comparison with the average price of cigarettes sold in Shanghai (which was $7.5 RMB).

  • Out of the $50 RMB, $40 RMB of revenue will be taxed and go towards funding for a state-mandated tobacco cessation programme.

  • Shops are only permitted to sell a quota of 44 packs per day; and will be stocked as such.

  • All packages are to be printed in black colour, with a list of ingredients situated at the back, a graphic health warning on the front (covering at least 70% of the front side in colour), and the name of the cigarette brand and cigarette type (i.e: Marlboro Ice Blast, etc.) below the health warning.

  • The font size for all text at the front is to be size 14, of Arial typeset. Colour should be red.

  • The font size for all text at the back is to be size 10, of Arial typeset. Colour should be yellow.

  • The sales of all cigarettes must be supplemented by an ID check from the buyer.

  • A smoking age has been officially set to 25.

  • Tobacco products manufactured and imported from overseas are also subject to a levy of $10 RMB ($1.41USD) per pack imported.

  • It is forbidden to exhibit cigars in open containers. All containers for cigars are to remain closed fully, only to be opened by the final consumer.

  • It is forbidden to smoke in the aforementioned public places, including all educational institutions, government offices, all medical facilities, sport stadiums, public transit vehicles, restaurants, publicly accessible areas of hotels, Internet cafes, supermarkets, shopping malls, theatres and cinemas, and public sports facilities.

  • Businesses, companies, firms or shops violating any provision of the aforementioned law will be fined $250,000 USD for the first provision they violate. If multiple provisions are violated, the fines will accumulate by 1.5 times per provision violated. (i.e: if Company X violates 3 provisions of the law, they will be fined ($250,000 USD)x1.5x1.5x1.5, or $843,750 USD)

  • The attempted purchase or distribution of tobacco products to minors or those below the smoking age is punishable by 8 year long imprisonment, and 888 hours of community service.

  • Failure to properly extinguish cigarette butts may lead to public shaming via online means.

  • Manufacturers violating the plain packaging law are liable for criminal prosecution.

  • Individuals violating aforementioned provisions are liable to be imprisoned for 3 years, and perform 333 hours of community service.

  • Physicians caught smoking on the line of duty* are liable to have their medical license revoked, and their practice fined $50,000 USD for every cigarette they are caught to be in possession of.

  • Physicians also have a duty to inquire into smoking habits of patients who smoke, and refer them to quitting programmes voluntarily.

    * = smoking in the workplace

    Currently, the Board of Works has set a goal that "by the year 2020, all health administration offices, both military and non-military, and at least 50% of all medical and health institutions should become smoke-free units, so that the goal of a total smoking ban in all health administration offices and medical and health institutions can be fulfilled in three months."

    In Beijing, a survey showed that 81.6 percent of respondents were eager to stop smoking, or had heard of family members and friends who were considering kicking the habit.

    The government has injected over $3.6 billion RMB/$508 million USD towards the creation and funding of a state-mandated smoking cessation programme, which includes the subsidisation of medical equipment needed, prescription medications such as nicotine patches, gum, Bupropion, face-to-face counselling services, telephone helplines, and the public distribution of self-help guides and anti-smoking leaflets in government offices, medical institutions, and schools.

    This law will not prevent the export and continued manufacture of tobacco products by China Tobacco.

    Monaco-Monte Carlo wrote:Official statement - Barbaric punishments
    ~ Secretariat to the League of Nations

    To Prince Alin, Deputy Head of the Board of Punishments, Greeting!

    First of all, thank you for responding to our statement and condemnation, it shows at the very least that The Rexist Rijk seeks to interact with other states and organisations over these subjects.

    May I start by making a point to set the record right? The League of Nations is not a state. We are an independent international organisation with multiple states as its members.

    Let me utter once more that we have in common the principle that the laws of a state should be followed, and that not doing so generally warrants a punishment. The point that the League seeks to make, is that the recently implemented punishments are inhumane.

    We recognise that the Ten Abominations go a long way back, and have been enshrined in your nation's culture. However, to remove parts of the body in the 21st century as a punishment is seen by us as barbaric.

    Criminals should not be sentenced to the harshest punishments just to set an example in order to reduce crime rates. We believe that all persons are entitled to their body, and that no state has the right, whehter "justified" by statute or not, to infringe this right.

    Therefore, our condemnation stands and will not be lifted.


    Gabriella, Comtesse de Polignac
    Director-General to the League

    Board of Punishments

    Bonjour, Mdm. Gabriella,

    The standing of Monaco's government in protest of the Ten Abominations and "Five Punishments" will be noted by the Board of Punishments. We will take care not to punish any foreign citizens which indulge in any of the Ten Abominations, as to promote our high standards of hospitality.

    One could make the case, stating that these laws are the absolute worst laws one could break. Akin to, say, mass murder, treason, espionage, or large-scale drug trafficking in Western countries. It is obvious that there is a clear cultural divide between our two countries with regards to the law and its execution. However, whereas most peoples who are convicted of aforementioned crimes in Western countries are executed, the Board of Punishments has not prescribed "Cisi" or "Si" (Forced Suicide/Execution respectively) as a penal punishment for such crimes. Sometimes, one nation may find it beneficial to keep the criminals alive, so they may set a better example for others, and encourage others to prevent committing such heinous offences.

    Additionally, it is believed some further clarification can be made on the punishments to make it more "humane", so to speak.

    The Punishments of Mo typically includes the shaving of one's head, followed by the tattoo of their crime in large characters over their bald spot. Of course, one's hair can always grow back, but it will be sufficient enough to serve as a loss of face - which is extremely important in Chinese culture - for the violator. Mo (Tattooing) is typically the lightest punishment, since it is easily concealable, and with professional help, its effects can be removed.

    The other punishments are also said to have symbolic value.

    Yi, which is the prescribed removal of the Nose in the case of Depravity (mutilation of the dead, murder of the innocents), is reminiscent to this famous quote by Confucius:

    “Don't do unto others what you don't want done unto you.”

    While the punishment of Yue, which is the amputation of one limb in the case of the violation of filial piety (disrespect for one's parents, elders, and ancestors), is meant to invoke humiliation onto the subject. When one's parents and family have worked so hard (with their limbs) to provide for one's upbringing and care, it is a tragedy to see their efforts go to waste by extreme disrespect from their own sons and daughters. By crippling one's child, it sets a precedent for other siblings not to indulge in such a crime, and shows respect to our Buddhist and Taoist code of ethics.

    Gong, which is the removal of the genitals in the case of Incest, is fairly straightforward. Without genitals, one can hope not to commit this crime again.

    Zanxing, which is the Crushing of the Fingers in the case of Depravity, is also to prevent similar acts from occurring again; as one's fingers are the most useful and dangerous tools given by Heaven.

    Unrighteousness in the form of petty treason, or murder of one's superiors, mentor, or local government officials, is punishable by Gongxing, which is in essence, solitary confinement. It is a measure used almost liberally by Western correctional institutions, and also a good chance for one to reflect about their past actions.

    Zhang, which is the beating of a subject with staves in the case of Great Irreverence or Lese Majeste, is an act of embarrassment; again, to prevent one's continued breaking of the law, whilst

    Liu, characterised as Exile which is handed out in cases of patricide, forbids one from re-entering their hometown ever again.

    The societal relations of my nation is very communal and formed on the basis of friends, family and public interactions. These crimes serve to humiliate oneself, and serve as an example to others.

    And let's not get into slow slicing/lingchi.

    Hope you understand! Also, we will not expect for the condemnation to be lifted :)

    -Prince ALin
    Deputy Head of the Board of Punishments

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