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00:00:00
>> China is finding it hard to kick its cigarette habit. For the past couple of years Beijing has been working on a new law to crack down on public smoking. But now sources say the tobacco industry has been throwing its weight around, pressing the government to relax the rules.
00:00:17
And as Reuters Megha Rajagopalan reports, that seems to be working.>> There is a version of this law that came out in late 2014 that was much stronger in its line against cigarettes. The latest version of the draft has made quite a few changes according to people who have seen the draft.
00:00:36
Most notable among those are that it would allow work places and other public places including malls, cafe, as restaurants to set up enclaves for smokers like smoking rooms.>> China has a big reason to listen to the industry The China National Tobacco Corporation is the world's largest cigarette maker by far, and brings in up to 10% of the country's total tax revenue.
00:00:59
It's also state run, which means it's got the ear of lawmakers.>> Because the tobacco monopoly is government controlled, and because they do have a tremendous influence over the government. They don't need to make any kind of public lobbying effort. They can just do this kind of lobbying behind closed doors.
00:01:19
That's left public health groups frustrated because they have no recourse to sway public opinion to their point of view.>> Groups like the World Health Organization have been warning China about the heavy costs of the habit.>> Including a massive healthcare burden for the government. China is the world's largest consumer of cigarettes, with 300 million smokers, and there are around a million smoking-related deaths every year.
00:01:42
The new law is expected to be passed by the end of the year.