Smoking rate in China holds steady despite reduction efforts

A student from Yangzhou University demonstrates against smoking during a street campaign in Yangzhou, Jiangsu province, on Sunday.
PHOTO: China Daily/ANN

Despite legislation and public education, China hasn't curbed tobacco use. Smoking prevalence remains the same as it was five years ago, a recent national survey found.

The Chinese Adult Tobacco Use Survey 2015 by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, found that 27 per cent of adults smoked in 2010, the same as now, but the absolute number of smokers has climbed. The total smoking population in China is now 316 million, up 15 million since 2010.

Each smoker, on average, went through 15.2 cigarettes per day, compared with 14 in 2010, when the previous survey was conducted.

More than 15,000 Chinese over age 15 were surveyed for the report that was released on Monday.

Wang Yu, head of the CDC, said, "An all-out effort is urgently needed to advance the public health campaign against smoking here."

Currently, more than half of Chinese male adults and 2.7 per cent of women light up, the survey found.

According to Jiang Yuan, deputy director of the tobacco control office of the CDC, the survey looked at tobacco control awareness among members of the public, media attitudes and secondhand smoke exposure.

On the positive side, nonsmokers suffer less passive smoke now in public indoor places, including at work, on public transportation and in homes, the report said.

In 2010, nearly 61 per cent of the nonsmokers reported exposure to secondhand smoke in their workplaces. That figure has declined to 54 per cent.

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