Lawyers condemn tobacco exhibition

Local authorities to improve the health and medical experts Tuesday accused the tobacco museum in the Yangpu District of being a giant advertisement for the tobacco industry, and demanded that the government cancel his honor, as a place to take students to the patriotic education of youth.

Tobacco-Project-by-Xu-Bing-2The Committee issued its demands ahead of World No Tobacco Day on May 31 and again urged the public to ignore the advertising, promotion and sponsorship, said Tang Qiong, deputy director of the Shanghai Municipal Committee of Health Promotion.

“China Tobacco Museum itself is a great advertisement of tobacco industry,” Tan said at the event on Tuesday.

Prior to the event, the Committee has organized an unauthorized tour of the museum for 20 people, including journalists, volunteers for tobacco control and public health experts. The tour was cut short, however, after two employees of the museum, and the security guard offered the band to leave the premises.

The museum has been under fire since School of Public Health at Fudan University published a video of last year’s report criticizes the museum, according to an employee of the museum, said he participated in the planning of the museum. “The video was made in secret. It contains some exaggerations and trying to demonize the tobacco industry,” said the employee, who declined to give his name.

Zhen Pinpin, a professor at Fudan University, in charge of the report, offered evidence that he is not exaggerating the potential impact of the museum.

Her research team interviewed 59 students before and after touring the museum, she said. During the tour, the percentage of students who thought smoking is harmful to their health has declined from 83.1 percent to 49.2 percent.

Museum exhibitions presented photographs of famous leaders such as Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, holding a cigarette, or smelling of tobacco leaves to show their support for the development of the tobacco industry.

“The museum is trying to mislead users, so they believe tobacco was an important complement to these people,” said Ge Xin, a graduate student and volunteers who participated in the report.

In the past, the museum has hosted groups of visiting students. In July last year, he was awarded the honorary titles as “patriotic education base”, “science education base” and “juvenile advanced education.” Awards come at a time when the tobacco industry has shifted its advertising target more women and young people said Zhu Jingfen, expert in public health from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

In a survey of more than 30,000 minors from 2010 and 2012, researchers found a rapid increase in the rate of youth smoking, said Zhu.

In defense of the museum, an unnamed employee confirmed that many of the early revolutionaries have a close relationship with the tobacco industry.

“While the industry is in decline, more than 100 million Chinese people still make their living from tobacco or related industries. This will be a long time before the industry is dying,” he said.

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