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Chinese People Now Smoking at Younger Age

There are roughly 350 million smokers in China, of whom 50 million are young people, according to statistics from China's Ministry of Health.

Three national tobacco surveys found that the smoking prevalence among Chinese youth has increased, and people start smoking at a younger and younger age. The average age at which Chinese people start smoking is four to five years younger in 2002 compared to 1984.

As many as 540 million Chinese people were exposed to secondhand smoking, of whom, 180 million were under the age of 15, and more than 10,000 nonsmokers die from secondhand smoke each year. Nearly 44 percent and 56 percent of Chinese youth are exposed to secondhand smoke at home and in public places, respectively, according to the recent Global Youth Tobacco Survey and the 2007 Report on Tobacco Control in China released by the Ministry of Health,

As prohibiting smoking in public places can only protect the youth from passive smoking to a certain extent, society should also pay attention to the growing number of young people who smoke actively"

Approximately 23 percent of Chinese youth have tried smoking, and over 6 percent are addicted to smoking, according to the 2010 Report on Tobacco Control in China released by the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention on May 28.

There have been suggestions for the government to legislate against the sale of tobacco products to young people as soon as possible in order to force active young smokers to stay away from cigarettes. Banning smoking in public places can protect them from secondhand smoke, but the problem is that they can still harm their own health by inhaling firsthand smoke.