Objective: To describe the prevalence of smoking, quitting smoke, and passive smoking in different populations by education status, occupation and geographic distribution.
Methods: Surveillance on risk behaviors in 145 disease surveillance points (DSP) was carried out in 2002 by multi-steps random sampling through questionnaires. 16,407 records had been completed with 16 056 used for analysis. Indicators as smoking, current smoking, average cigarettes smoked and the cost per day, etc., were calculated by weight on age proportions from the 2000 census.
Results: Ever-smoking rates in males and females aged 15 and over were 66.0% and 3.1%, respectively with ever-smoking rate dropped 1.8% in whole population, but increased in people aged 15-24. The number of total smokers was about 350 million, 30 million more than that in 1996. There were no obvious geographic differences seen among male, but big difference was seen in female smokers. Higher smoking rates were seen in the northeast and northern parts of the country. Rate of quitting smoking was increasing, from 9.42% in 1996 to 11.5% in 2002, referring to an increase of 10 million quitters. However, the rate of no intention to quit among smokers was still very high--74%. The average cigarettes consumption per person-day was the same as that in 1996--14.8 cigarettes/day, which cost 2.73 RBM/day. The cost was various in different groups of population with a 15 times difference. The level of exposure for passive smokers was not improved. The prevalence of passive smoking in nonsmokers were 53% in 1996 and 52% in 2002. Knowledge on smoking and health condition in population had been greatly improved, but still poor in the western areas. 60% of the people claimed in supporting banning of smoking in public places, 45% supporting the banning of all cigarettes ads, but big difference was seen in different geographic areas.
Conclusion: The prevalence of smoking in Chinese males had reached its peak, leveling but had not yet obvious dropped. Communication on the knowledge of harm in smoking remained weak since people did not understand or support the strategies on tobacco control, especially in the western areas. Data indicated that the prevalence of tobacco use would not decrease over in short period and the disease burden caused by tobacco use would still be heavy in the next 30-50 years. The government and public health authorities should develop effective tobacco control in no time to decrease disease burden caused by smoking and passive smoking.