AsianScientist (Jun. 4, 2012) – China’s Ministry of Health released the country’s first report on the harms of smoking on Wednesday last week, ahead of the 25th World No Tobacco Day on Thursday.
The report details the harms of smoking, the current situation in China, as well as future measures to control it. It also calls for smoke-free public spaces as part of the national goal of increasing life expectancy.
At the press conference on Wednesday last week, Chinese Health Minister Chen Zhu, medical expert Zhong Nanshan, and Chinese actor Pu Cunxin called for tighter control on smoking throughout China.
Hailing it as a “milestone in history,” the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a statement congratulating China’s health ministry for releasing its first official publication on the harms of smoking.
According to statistics released by WHO, every six seconds one person dies of smoking related diseases throughout the world.
China – the world’s largest tobacco producer and consumer – sees over one million people dying of smoking every year, and the number of deaths annually due to smoking is expected to exceed three million by 2050.
In June 23, 2011, Chinese researchers published a summary of a large-scale assessment of smoking patterns in China in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Based on results of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) which surveyed 13,354 Chinese participants from December 2009 to March 2010, the researchers estimated that 301 million people in China are smokers, representing approximately 28.1 percent of adults.
52.9 percent of men smoked whereas only 2.4 percent of women were current smokers, the report estimated.
The authors warned that if the current high smoking prevalence persists in China, “China will suffer from a heavy disease burden and incur serious socioeconomic losses in the 21st century,” they wrote.
Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine.
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