A senior health official in southern China’s Guangdong province has urged residents to join hands with government departments to help reduce the prevalence of smoking.
“Tobacco control is still a long and tough task in the province, and all residents should participate in the campaign,” Chen Yiping, deputy director of the provincial Health Commission, said on Tuesday.
Chen’s remarks came after the release of a survey showing the smoking rate among Guangdong residents age 15 or older at the end of last year was 26.48 percent, down from 27.02 percent at the end of 2016.
“That indicates 23.74 million people age over 15 are smokers in Guangdong,” he said.
The survey found that 48.31 percent of men and 1.8 percent of the women in the province smoke, with the rate in rural areas higher than in urban areas.
Guangdong still has a long way to go and much work to do to reach its goal to bring the smoking rate down to less than 20 percent by 2030, Chen added.
Tang Jie, director of the provincial Health Education Center, promised to step up publicity efforts to promote smoking control and urged government departments to speed up the creation of smoke-free areas.
“Departments should try to create an atmosphere that smoking is not the mainstream in social activities by banning smoking at major social events,” Tang said. “Locals should also be taught that smoking is not cool; it is harmful.”
Xiong Xiaoqiang, a senior doctor at Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital, said most people younger than 50 who died of heart attacks were smokers.
The survey, conducted by Tang’s center, interviewed more than 6,010 residents age 15 or older in November and December.