The incidence of smoking has been declining on the Chinese mainland, but more tobacco-control efforts are needed, according to a story by Wang Xiaodong in the China Daily citing the findings of a survey published on Thursday.
Last year, 26.6 percent of the mainland’s population 15 years of age or older were smokers, according to the survey, which was conducted by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) between July and December.
A similar survey conducted by the CDCP in 2014 and 2015 showed 27.7 percent of this age group smoked.
The survey reportedly found that there was increasing public support for tobacco control efforts. More than 90 percent of those surveyed said they supported a total ban on ‘tobacco in the workplace’, and more than 95 percent said they supported banning smoking in hospitals, in middle and primary schools, and on public transport. Nearly 80 percent said they hoped to see a ‘ban on tobacco’ in restaurants.
But the survey found too that adult smokers ‘generally lack the willingness to quit’, with 16 percent planning to quit within the year.
Zhi Xiuyi, vice-president of the Chinese Association on Tobacco Control, said China faced severe challenges in protecting people from the effects of tobacco use, despite the progress made.
“To achieve the government target of bringing down the percentage of adult smokers to 20 percent by 2030, we have a lot of work to do,” he said.
Wang reported that the biggest obstacle to tobacco control in China was the powerful tobacco industry, which was one of the biggest tax contributors to the government.