More than one million people die in China annually because of diseases caused by smoking and the number could double by 2030, a joint report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and China said on Wednesday.

The report said that there were more than 300 million cigarette smokers in China.

“About 26.6% of Chinese people aged 15 and above are smokers, and of this age group, more than half of men smoke cigarettes,” the report, quoted by official media, said.

The annual report, for the first time this year, added a new health hazard section for e-cigarettes.

It added that the number could double if current smoking trends continued.

The report was jointly released by the WHO’s China office and China’s national health commission (NHC) in Beijing on Wednesday.

The Healthy China 2030 strategy set a goal of reducing the rate of smokers aged 15 and above by 20% before 2030.

The Healthy China Action Plan (2019-30) released by the Healthy China Promotion Committee listed tobacco control as one of its priorities.

The report was released ahead of the 34th World No Tobacco Day, which falls on May 31.

“Reducing smoking rates requires the joint efforts of governments, society, families and individuals to create a smoke-free environment for smokers to help them quit smoking,” Wu Xiangtian deputy director of the NHC’s planning department said.

Titled the “China Smoking Harm Health Report 2020” updated the global scientific basis for the association between smoking and secondhand exposure to the four major chronic diseases, namely chronic respiratory diseases, malignant tumours, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes.

“At the same time, Report 2020 adds a new health hazard section for e-cigarettes,” the WHO said.

Earlier this year, a Chinese parliamentarian proposed a nationwide ban on smoking in indoor places and suggested that a national law be enacted to protect the health of non-smokers.

The proposal was put forward by Chen Jingyu, a cardiothoracic surgery expert and vice president of Wuxi People’s Hospital in eastern China’s Jiangsu province, and a deputy at the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC).

World News

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