Smoking ‘scourge’in China, research shows

SMOKING is a “scourge” on China’s health system, and 100 million men in the country may die of smoking-related diseases such as cancer from 2000 to 2050, researchers said in the British medical journal, the Lancet.

An ageing population, tobacco use and an increasing rate of fat and salt intake are leading to more heart disease, stroke and cancer in China, the researchers said.

The proportion of deaths from those diseases rose to 74% in 2005 from 47% in 1973.

Families will be “squandering life savings in desperate attempts at treatment”, doctors led by Xiao Shuiyuan at Central South University in Changsha, China, said in their report.

The study on smoking was among 19 papers being presented yesterday in Beijing at a Lancet meeting on changes to China’s health system.

One in three smokers in the world is a Chinese man, with 60% of the country’s males having the habit, the Lancet said. The rate is about 5% for Chinese women as it is a social taboo.


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