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Health workers unaware of dangers of smoking |Society |
Health workers unaware of dangers of smoking
Updated: 2012-07-17 20:42
ByWang Qingyun (

Medical workers have the biggest misunderstandings about the dangers of
low tar cigarettes according to a new report, prompting health
authorities to consider a new campaign to educate this group.

Wang Chen, vice-president of Beijing Hospital, addressed a conference on
Monday about the findings of a report called Health Hazards of Smoking.

The conference, cosponsored by the WHO Collaborating Center for Tobacco
or Health and the Hospital Tobacco Control Panel of the Chinese
Association on Tobacco Control, was aimed at raising awareness of the
significance of the report and the key conclusions.

The report, that referred to more than 1,200 research papers, was issued
by the Ministry of Health on May 30. It is the first official report
released by the government to list the dangers of smoking and the
benefits of quitting.

The report cites Chinese data from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey in
2010, showing that only 14 percent of Chinese adults were aware that low
tar cigarettes are as harmful as regular cigarettes.

The remaining 86 percent either did not know low tar cigarettes are as
harmful, or believed low tar cigarettes are less harmful. Among the 86
percent, health workers had the highest rate of misconceptions about low
tar cigarettes.

More than 80 percent of health workers surveyed said they were certain
of their answer, but only 55 percent of them believed low tar cigarettes
were less harmful, despite evidence to the contrary.

“Many of the health workers didn’t learn systematically the harm of
smoking. They probably chose the answer based on the general dose-effect
relationship,” said Wang.

According to research published in the Chinese Journal of Epidemiology
and The New England Journal of Medicine, 56.8 percent of male health
workers smoke in China in 2002, while the figure dropped to 40.4 percent
in 2010.

Jonathan M. Samet, professor at the University of Southern California
and director of the USC Institute for Global Health, who helped review
the report and advised it’s authors, said, “I think it’s important that
they (health workers) become role models for not smoking and they
certainly should not smoking in front of their patients. They have to
give their patients the opportunity to be advised about how to stop.”

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