Fri, January 07, 2011
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China facing crisis over smoking

2011-01-07 03:27:44 GMT2011-01-07 11:27:44 (Beijing Time)  SINA.com

Friends smoking on the streets of Beijing- an all too common sight in the Chinese capital.

With 300 million smokers, China consumes a third of the world's cigarettes.

Now a new report says a lack of tobacco control has ushered in a public health crisis.

Anti-smoking films, like this one, are an example of government steps in raising awareness.

But one of the report's co-authors says authorities haven't gone far enough.

(SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE CHINESE CENTRE FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION YANG GONGHUAN:

"A lot of government departments, for example the ministries of health, education and some local governments, and the ministry of civil affairs, they have all done a lot, but this falls far short of the calls for tobacco control. More importantly, the lack of progress made by those departments that have affiliations with the tobacco industry has cancelled out these efforts towards tobacco control."

The government plans to ban smoking in public in Beijing by 2015, but the habit's popularity may prove difficult to stop.

Restaurants across the capital fill with smoke at meal times- even with 'no smoking' signs displayed.

(SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) 28 YEAR OLD ENGINEER HAO YUZHU:

"Everyone knows smoking is bad for your health, but you can't quit too quickly. I agree that environmental protection and less smoking should be promoted... but I can't give it up in a day."

The study - put together by more than 60 experts from China and abroad - found that 1.2 million people in China died from smoking-related causes in 2005.

On its current course, the report predicts that this could rise to 3.5 million in 2030.

(Source, Reuters)

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