China urged to adopt anti-tobacco law to curb deaths

Beijing, Oct 19 (IANS) The World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged China to implement a nationwide anti-tobacco law to curb an alarming increase in the number of deaths from tobacco-related diseases.

A strong national law against tobacco would also protect 1.3 billion Chinese citizens from the harm of direct and passive smoking, the WHO said.

More than a million people die every year in China from tobacco-related diseases and if the trend continues, the number will triple by 2050, EFE reported.

“China’s addiction with tobacco is taking a toll on its health, society and economy. And Chinese smokers are not only harming themselves but also harming their friends, families and all those around them,” said Bernhard Schwartlander, WHO representative in China.

“The ratios of exposure to second hand smoke are extremely high in the country, with devastating consequences for those affected,” he added.

A study published this month by British scientific journal The Lancet said that one out of three Chinese people, less than 20 years of age, runs the risk of premature death if they do not quit smoking.

Beijing has already implemented an anti-smoking law, and the harshest so far banning smoking in indoor spaces like restaurants.

“The law in Beijing is an example for the rest of China. Despite other anti-smoking policies being implemented in other Chinese cities they have not been applied properly. We need tougher laws, which apply effectively and massive campaigns to educate the population,” said Xiaofeng Liang from the Chinese Disease Control and Prevention Centre (CDC).

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