Holy Smoke: 23% of Beijingers Light Up

china-smokes

Laurie Burkitt reports: China’s capital city has a grand total of 4.19 million smokers, each of whom inhales around 15 cigarettes per day, just shy of a pack, according to a new survey from the Beijing Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning.

To give some perspective on the smoking scale, Beijing’s smokers outnumber the population of the city of Los Angeles. About one in five people in the capital smoke, and the number of people they subject to secondhand smokeis around 10 million in addition to themselves, according to health officials cited in the Beijing News.

An advertisement for Shanghai's Meili brand cigarettes in the 1920s.[Photo/tobaccochina.com]

An advertisement for Shanghai’s Meili brand cigarettes in the 1920s.[Photo/tobaccochina.com]

The survey of nearly 8,500 Beijingers found that smokers on average spend around 160 yuan a month on cigarettes.

Beijing’s officials are drawing attention to the city’s full ashtrays ahead of a new ban on smoking indoors that will take effect June 1. The citywide ban takes aim at restaurants, bars and other indoor locations.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

It’s part of a national push to improve the health of Chinese. China’s lung cancer rates are rising with the country’s high tobacco usage and the effects of secondhand smoke.

china-smoking

The latest survey is an improvement over the previous one six years ago, which found that 27.4% of Beijing’s people smoked.

Still, some people, even health experts, are skeptical that Beijing’s ban will take hold, particularly given the high numbers of smokers. Beijing passed a ban previously, but it was all (cough) smoke and mirrors.

Officials at the World Health Organization say they’re hopeful this time around because the new law has stiffer repercussions for violators. Officials can fine individual offenders 200 yuan…(read more)

WSJ

– Laurie Burkitt. Follow her on Twitter @lburkitt.

 



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