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Youth Smoking in China

China has the world’s largest smoking population – 350 million – representing one-third of the world’s total. Nearly 60 percent of Chinese males older than 15 smoke regularly Five million people die of smoking-related diseases worldwide, exceeding the combined total deaths from AIDS, tuberculosis and traffic accidents. Among the 5 million, 1.2 million are Chinese nationals.

More seriously, the country’s smoking population is getting younger, according to a national survey. Males started smoking at age 22 in 1984; eight years later, they started at age 18. Females went from 25 to 20 years old within the same period.

Among college students, senior high school students and junior high school students was a smoking population of 46 percent, 45 percent and 34 percent, respectively, according to a recent study by the Ministry of Health.

In 2007, China began implementing a law to protect non-adults from tobacco and alcohol sales. From May 1, 2008, Beijing banned smoking in public areas. Reports say the Chinese government is considering increasing taxes on tobacco products. The plan has been hailed by the public, though it still has to go through a lengthy process before becoming law. Enditem

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