Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

July 18th, 2008:

65m Teens Victims Of Second-Hand Smoke

Tobacco-related diseases kill 1m every year

Minnie Chan – Updated on Jul 18, 2008

More than 65 million mainland teenagers have been affected by second-hand smoke, and about 1 million people die from smoking-related diseases every year, the Ministry of Health said yesterday.

Because of the 350 million smokers in the mainland – one-third of the global total – at least 540 million people have become ill because of second-hand smoke, ministry spokesman Mao Qunan said as part of a promotion for tobacco and smoking control.

“Among the 130 million young people, 15 million are regular smokers, and 40 million others had tried smoking,” Mr Mao said, citing this year’s report. “So far 65 million teenagers have suffered from second-hand smoke.”

He pointed out that more than 100,000 mainlanders had died from second-hand smoke and that smoking-related diseases had killed about 1 million annually.

“Many studies forecast that the death toll of smoking-related diseases would double by 2020 to 2 million people a year, and that the cumulative number would be 100 million by 2050, with half of them dying between 35 and 69.”

He blamed fashionable tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship in public places for the increase in the number of young smokers.

With almost 2 trillion cigarettes sold every year, the central government introduced restrictions in 1995 to ban all tobacco advertising.

However, indirect tobacco advertisements and footage of popular idols on TV and movies that imply that smoking is mature and sexy had lured more teenagers to smoke, Mr Mao added.

Chen Weiqing, of Sun Yat-sen University’s School of Public Health in Guangzhou, said the lack of health education in schools and homes was also a key reason young people smoked.

“We found many teenagers had not realised that smoking is harmful because teachers and parents do not pay too much attention to smoking control,” he said. “Indeed, teenagers [find it] very easy to buy cigarettes on the streets due to the lack of prevention and loose restrictions.”

Professor Chen, who studied 3,000 students aged 13 to 15 in Guangzhou from 2005 to last year, said he found only 5.5 per cent of the teenagers continued to smoke after taking part in a three-year experimental workshop on smoking control.

“Many students refused to smoke or go near others who smoke after witnessing the deaths of white mice from smoking in our experimental workshops,” he said. “I suggest that our government introduce a smoking control experimental course … into our educational system.”

Smoking Ban Announced For Northern Territory Bars

ABC News Posted Fri Jul 18, 2008 2:25pm AEST
Updated Fri Jul 18, 2008 7:21pm AEST

Smoking inside Territory pubs and clubs will be banned from 2010. (Reuters: Morris Mac Matzen )

The Territory government has announced its long awaited timeframe for banning smoking inside clubs and pubs, saying new restrictions will come into place from the start of 2010.

The ban will not include outdoor areas where food and drink is not directly served.

Minister Chris Burns says the ban will start in 2010 so businesses will have time to do building work or make other adjustments for the changes.

“Venues need time to carry out works on their rooms and venue to accommodate this change. That’s the advice that we’ve had from industry.

“So we’re prepared to work with industry and allow them some time to do those works, to allow for that change.

“But certainly we foreshadow that if venues want to go before that date then we will be supporting them.”

The Northern Territory is the last place in the country to ban smoking in bars.

Mr Burns says the move reflects public pressure and he is also hoping the smoking changes will end the Territory’s less than prestigious winning run of the Dirty Ash Tray award, given by the Australian Medical Association to the jurisdiction with the worst smoking habits.

State Opposition Gaming and Racing spokesman Matt Conlon has welcomed the move but has labelled it an election stunt because it will not come into effect for 18 months.

“Are they actually approaching some of these licensee’s and actually entering into some sort of negotiation?” he said.

“There’s been no funds set aside or there’s no announcement in this particular announcement as to how much the whole thing is going to cost.”

The indoor smoking ban in all pubs and clubs has been met with mixed support.

The Australian Medical Association’s Dr Rob Parker says its about time.

“It’s very embarrassing for year after year to be brought up as the government that’s done the least amount for smoking policy or smoking health related issues,” he said.

He also says it should have taken six months to impose the ban instead of 18 months.

However the Australian Hotels Association says some pubs and clubs could lose up to 40 per cent of their revenue.

The Association’s Mick Burns says businesses will have to build special smoking areas if they are going to protect profits.

“The large majority of pubs and clubs they either have or will need to make amendments or make changes to their premises to properly facilitate these announcements,” he said.

The Territory Government has also announced a cap on the number of poker machines in the Territory to 1,190.

There will be no new poker machine licenses handed out.

The State Government is also looking into buying back liquor licenses across the Territory.