About one-third of the world's tobacco is produced and consumed in China. Despite existing tobacco control policies and activities, the prevalence of smoking in China remains high with 350 million smokers and 740 million passive smokers. Furthermore, smoking rates in the young population and in females are increasing. The number of deaths attributed to tobacco use has reached 1.2 million per year, whereas the death toll is expected to rise to 2 million annually by 2025. Sociocultural factors favouring smoking initiation, lack of awareness among the public about the hazards of smoking, weak support from the government and strong resistance from the tobacco industry are major reasons for the lack of effectiveness of current tobacco control measures. Effective intervention efforts are urgently required. Commitments from the government are crucial in tobacco control. Firm action should be taken on tobacco control issues at multiple levels including a reduction in tobacco supply, increased tobacco taxation, increased education, tobacco advertising limitations, decreased second-hand smoke exposure and smoking cessation support. The health-care community should also play a leading role in anti-tobacco campaigns and take a more active role in smoking cessation programmes.
© 2011 The Authors. Respirology © 2011 Asian Pacific Society of Respirology.