The number of people smoking cigarettes in China has increased dramatically, according to ITV News.
The Lancet medical journal noted that one in three young Chinese men will die from smoking cigarettes. The statistics for women were less because there are not as many women smokers.
China has seen the numbers of smokers rise rapidly since cigarettes are becoming more widely available. ITV News states that currently two-thirds of young Chinese men smoke, and one-third of these men will likely die from cigarette-related diseases.
“Without rapid, committed, and widespread action to reduce smoking levels, China will face enormous numbers of premature deaths,” said Liming Li, a professor at the Academy of Medical Sciences in Beijing who helped lead a study analysis.
The numbers came from studies that were conducted 15 years apart. The first study was done in the 1990s with a quarter of a million men. The second study is currently still ongoing, and half a million women and men are involved in it.
“The results of the study show that the annual number of tobacco-related deaths in China had reached a million by 2010 and could reach two million by 2030.”
The government is not working too hard to control this health crisis because cigarettes are an important source of revenue for the government. Chinese citizens are finding it hard to give the cigarettes up because they have been ingrained into their culture.
“About two-thirds of young Chinese men become cigarette smokers, and most start before they are 20,” says Zhengming Chen. “Unless they stop, about half of them will eventually be killed by their habit. The annual number of deaths in China that are caused by tobacco will rise from about one million in 2010 to two million in 2030 and three million in 2050, unless there is widespread cessation. With effective measures to accelerate cessation, the growing epidemic of premature death from tobacco can be halted and then reversed, as in other countries.”
China is the biggest tobacco producer in the world, and they currently have over 300 million smokers. Smoking among Chinese women is going down, but not for young men. Currently, over one million Chinese people die from diseases related to smoking every year.
China raised the cigarette tax from 5 to 11 percent because of recommendations made by the World Health Organization (WHO) to help with the health crisis. The World Health Organization told China that 13 million deaths from smoking-related illnesses can be avoided by 2050 if they will adopt policies to stop or slow down the number of people who smoke.
China is slowly adopting the policies recommended by the World Health Organization, but they still have a ways to go. Cigarettes are still affordable in China, with some brands as low as 10 RMB per pack, and the tax for cigarettes is still below what the WHO recommended that it should be.
In 2002, when cigarette production was at 1.75 trillion per year, China signed the WHO Framework Convention Tobacco Control to help slow down tobacco supply and consumption, but it didn’t work. A report from 2012 shows that number has doubled to 2.58 trillion since China signed it.
According to Global Health Governance website, one way to turn China’s health crisis around is to educate Chinese people. Most Chinese smokers don’t know how detrimental smoking can be to their health. The tobacco culture is very strong in China, and academic performance in their schools have been linked with tobacco use. There is little educational emphasis on the effects of smoking, and there is no public shame in smoking in China, but efforts are being made to turn this around.
This last summer, more efforts are being made to help with the smoking crisis in China. Beijing put in place China’s toughest indoor smoking ban, and reports say it has been partially effective.
Students going to school are being taught three government-recommended hand gestures to alert nearby strangers to stop smoking.
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