Smoking to Blame as Lung Cancer Deaths Rise in China

November 25, 2013

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A recent conference in China highlighted both the huge toll tobacco use is taking on the country and the need for urgent action to stem this growing epidemic.

Cigarette smoking is the main force behind a 465 percent increase in lung cancer deaths in China over the past 30 years, making lung cancer the top cause of cancer in the country, according to doctors and researchers speaking at the Sixth China North-South Lung Cancer Summit in Beijing.

China has the largest  number of smokers in the world and is home to one in three of the world’s smokers, compared to having one in six of the world’s people, according to a blog post in The New York Times, which cited CCTV, China’s state broadcaster.
Speakers at the conference attributed tobacco’s huge and growing toll in China to the country’s weak tobacco control laws and poor enforcement of existing laws. As a result, consumers are not warned about the dangers of smoking, and exposure to secondhand is common in public places such as restaurants.

Health advocates in China are urging strong and urgent action to reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke, including graphic health warnings on cigarettes packs and smoke-free public places.  Without such action, tobacco use will kill 3.5 million Chinese annually by 2030.