Objectives: We estimated the prevalence of cigarette smoking and the extent of environmental tobacco smoke exposure (ETS) in the general population in China.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted on a nationally representative sample of 15540 Chinese adults aged 35-74 years in 2000-2001. Information on cigarette smoking was obtained by trained interviewers using a standard questionnaire.
Results: The prevalence of current cigarette smoking was much higher among men (60.2%) than among women (6.9%). Among nonsmokers, 12.1% of men and 51.3% of women reported exposure to ETS at home, and 26.7% of men and 26.2% of women reported exposure to ETS in their workplaces. On the basis of our findings, 147358000 Chinese men and 15895000 Chinese women aged 35-74 years were current cigarette smokers, 8658000 men and 108402000 women were exposed to ETS at home, and 19072000 men and 55372000 women were exposed to ETS in their workplaces.
Conclusions: The high prevalence of cigarette smoking and environmental tobacco smoke exposure in the Chinese population indicates an urgent need for smoking prevention and cessation efforts.