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Smoking in China Seen Doubling by 2020

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China will have twice as many smokers in a decade as it has today if the government does nothing to halt current trends, health experts warn.

Reuters reported Dec. 4 that a study by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease noted that Chinese smokers consume one-third of the world's cigarettes. A million Chinese smokers die each year from tobacco-related illnesses — a rate that could double by 2010.

About 300 million Chinese smoke, including 60 percent of all men.

“It (China) will continue to suffer an enormous burden of disease from tobacco use — and more so because the longer people smoke, the worse their disease gets, the worse the death rates get. The costs of treating these diseases, the economic impact on China, will be serious,” said Sinead Jones, the group's director of tobacco control.

Some Chinese cities have started to enact smokefree laws, but Jones said much more needs to be done.

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