According to a research lead by a joint team of scientists from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Oxford University, one in three young men in China is likely to be killed by tobacco since these people take up the habit before they are 20 years old.
Although the number is alarming, it is still reversible, scientists said, if people decide to quit smoking. Currently, about two thirds of young Chinese men are active smokers, and most of them started before they reached adulthood. Study investigators said that most of these men would face premature death unless they give up smoking for good.
For their study, researchers sifted through data from two long-term studies, which monitored hundreds of thousands of young men in China for nearly two decades. So far, 1 million of the country’s young men died from smoking and that number may more than double by 2030.
But there is a way out, researchers claim: smoke cessation.
“The key to avoid this huge wave of deaths is cessation, and if you are a young man, don’t start,”
University of Oxford’s Richard Peto, who was involved in the study, recently told reporters.
In the Western world, the number of smokers dropped dramatically in the last couple of decades. In the U.S., one in five adult men and one in 6 adult women smoke, and smoking is associated with 20 percent of deaths, a recent CDC report shows.
But the news that one in three young men in China is likely to be killed by tobacco is no surprise, since many Chinese start the habit at earlier ages since cigarettes are easier to obtain.
According to a WHO report, one in two smokers would be killed by the habit worldwide, and nearly 5 million people die from direct cigarette use. The figures didn’t take into account mortality rate among second hand smokers, which is a different story.
But as Beijing sees in smoking a very important source of revenue, there was little interest in promoting smoke cessation programs and make population aware of the health risks. Moreover, many smokers say that it is nearly impossible to stop in a society that encourages smoking by design.
Wei Bin, 32-year-old Chinese office employee said that he couldn’t quit smoking because there was a lot o pressure at his work place, so he used cigarettes to lower that pressure.
Furthermore, people cannot give up the habit because the government doesn’t lend them a hand, and they are suspicious of e-cigarettes, because they believe the devices may be even worse.
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