Globally, smoking prevalence the percentage of the population that smokes every day has decreased, but the number of cigarette smokers worldwide has increased. A latest survey on the world smoking population has revealed some of the most shocking results about China. China unbelievably has 350 million smokers. The smoking population of China has even crossed the total population rate of the whole United States! Gaining the highest position in such unhealthy surveys is not really something China should be proud of.
China’s smoking population is in for a rude awakening in light of a new study from The Lancet medical journal. The study warns that if current smoking rates in China prevail, two million Chinese will die by 2030.
While the news quickly made headlines throughout the weekend in the Western media, it hardly ruffled feathers in the Chinese media. Most news sources, including the state organ Xinhua, merely regurgitated the results of the study.
According to the Chinese citizens, cigarettes, beyond serving as a means to de-stress, are customarily used as gifts in professional and personal encounters. As described by one Chinese official, “like drinking, if you don’t smoke while everyone else around you is smoking, it complicates your work because you won’t be able to blend in, and over time you may find yourself ostracized.”
Well, it’s now high time for China to take this into consideration and work upon it as the health of a country’s citizen is the main wealth of the country. But, as Xu Guihua of the Chinese Association on Tobacco Control says, it will all come down to a cultural shift in China. The ordinary Chinese will need to get involved, since the police can’t be everywhere. Besides, the task of dismantling a national cultural artefact is not something that the state can do alone.