China Daily-Thursday, December 21, 2006
A recent article in China Daily reports new figures that show that smokers in China consumed two trillion cigarettes last year. Generating more than 60 cancer-causing chemicals -- including tar, nicotine, and benzene -- tobacco smoke is on the rise throughout China. The smoking population in China has reached approximately 350 million people, which accounts for one-third of the world’s smokers. Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a report suggesting that cancer is one of the single largest avoidable causes of death in the world. If the current trends continue in China, the expected annual deaths attributed to smoking are projected to reach one million by 2025. Concern is mounting, especially due to the increasing popularity of smoking amongst adolescents. It is speculated that this rise is due to advertisements geared towards younger audiences. Taking a proactive approach, China has ratified the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which requires countries to prohibit the sale of cigarettes to minors. The Cancer Foundation of China has also begun an anti-tobacco campaign targeting high school students that is scheduled to start next year. China hopes that these efforts to educate young people about the dangers of smoking will keep the death toll from rising at this alarming rate.