Shanghai smoking rate declines

Fewer local residents were found lighting up last year following the implementation of amended tobacco control regulations.

The smoking rate of local residents aged 15 and above declined by 0.8 percentage points last year compared with 2016, according to data from Shanghai’s health and family planning commission.

This result follows the adoption of new smoking control measures last March. These measures banned indoor smoking as well as smoking in six types of outdoor public areas including schools, women’s and children’s hospitals and sports venues.

The commission surveyed more than 3,300 families and individuals in eight areas of the city last year. Survey results were released at an event to mark the World No Tobacco Day, which falls today.

The survey also found that 20.2 percent of Shanghai residents were smokers last year. The smoking rate for men was 38.4 percent, while for women it was 0.8 percent.

The proportion of non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke also dropped. Last year this figure was 50.6 percent, down from 2016’s rate of 58.5.

Meanwhile, public awareness of the harmful nature of tobacco is rising as a result of the city’s promotion of smoking-control measures.

An overwhelming majority of local residents surveyed were aware that smoking can cause increased rates of heart disease, lung cancer on adults and lung disease on children, according to released figures.

More than 17 percent of smokers surveyed said they are considering smoking cessation in the coming year and 3.5 percent of them planned to quit within one month.

Nearly 46 percent of smokers who saw a doctor in the past year were advised to give up smoking.

Zhang Meixing, an official with the commission, said the newly amended smoking control regulations are engaging more people to follow the rules.

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