BEIJING, March 5 (Xinhua) -- In its 12th Five-Year Plan, China has promised to ban smoking in public places "in an all-around manner".
This is the first time that China included an anti-smoking measure into its five-year plan.
The new five-year plan (2011-2015) was submitted to the annual session of China's parliament for review Saturday.
The anti-smoking move was met with applause from experts.
"It is a big decision," said Yue Bingfei, a member with the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and a research fellow with the National Institute for the Control of Pharmaceutical and Biological Products.
"China's pace of anti-smoking had been rather slow, therefore the decision was not easy," he said.
Wu Yiqun, an activist for an anti-smoking campaign and a deputy head for the non-governmental organization, Thinktank Research Center for Health Development, was encouraged by the "open declaration of the stance of the central government."
"It means that anti-smoking would be the direction of China's efforts in the next five years," she said. "I hope the move could help China impose a 100-percent smoking ban in indoor public places and on public vehicles."
China is the world's largest producer and consumer of tobacco.
"Smoking control is a big issue. It concerns the health and livelihood of the Chinese people," said Yao Naili, a CPPCC National Committee member and the dean of the China Academy of the Chinese Medical Sciences.
He noted that China had more than 300 million smokers, and about 540 million people suffering from second-hand smoking.