MORE than 90 percent of primary and secondary schools have stores selling cigarettes within a 100-meter radius, and less than half of the sellers have posted warning signs, according to a report released by the Shenzhen Tobacco Control Association yesterday.
The association last year commissioned the city's chronic disease prevention and control center to launch an investigation into sales outlets around the city's schools and also the prevalence of cigarette smoking among students.
A total of 72 primary and secondary schools, as well as vocational schools, across the city were randomly selected and 173 tobacco selling sites within 100 meters of the schools were investigated. Some 5,611 primary and secondary school students aged 9 and above were surveyed.
Of the 72 schools, 93.1 percent have tobacco sales outlets within 100 meters.
Although the city's regulations on smoking control clearly specify that sales outlets should have warning signs posted in clear sight, fewer than half of the store have complied.
In terms of prices, 7.5 percent of sellers offer prices less than 3 yuan (US$0.46) per packet, while nearly 60 percent of them sell at prices between 3 and 5 yuan.
According to the survey, 71.1 percent of students who have purchased cigarettes said they had never been asked about their age, and 77.7 percent said they had never been refused.
The survey shows that among the students who have smoked, 35.5 percent of them obtained their cigarettes from friends or classmates. The number of students who had heard of, seen or used electronic cigarettes also exceeded that of the city's adults in a survey conducted in 2014.
"Electronic cigarettes should also be added to the smoking control rules and banned in smoke-free places," said Xiong Jingfan, an official with the city's Smoke-free City Project.
It is suggested that the government strengthen law enforcement and severely punish those who sell tobacco to minors.