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Tobacco Use in China Threatens Health of Millions


The most populated country on the planet may also be heading towards the worst tobacco-related health crisis on the planet, say Tulane University researchers. More than 300 million Chinese adults either smoke or are exposed to cigarette smoke at work or at home.

“Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in China and worldwide,” says author Jiang He, chair of the epidemiology department at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. “China is in need of cessation programs and policies such as smoking bans at work that reduce exposure to cigarette smoke.”

Six out of 10 Chinese men currently smoke or have smoked, compared to only one in 10 women. Two out of five non-smokers are exposed to second-hand smoke at home. These statistics translate into hundreds of millions of adults who will suffer from the health effects of tobacco use, says He.

He and colleagues at Tulane, the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and the Peking Union Medical College collected data from 15,540 adults between the ages of 35 and 74 who were surveyed as a part of the International Collaborative Study of Cardiovascular Disease in Asia. The survey of Chinese and Thai adults asked questions about health status and lifestyle choices, including smoking and exposure to smoke at home or at work.

“The way the survey was done is valuable because we can compare smoking rates in the Chinese adult population with rates in Western countries,” He says. “Men in China smoke more than their Western counterparts, but Western women smoke more than women in China.”

The article will be available in the November issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

| newswise
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