Smoking rate for Shanghai residents drops

Cai Wenjun
Shanghai Health Enhancement Commission said an investigation found that public awareness of the harm caused by smoking and passive smoking need further improvement.
Cai Wenjun

Shanghai's smokers over the age of 15 were 19.7 percent of the city's population last year, 0.2 percentage points lower than that in 2018, the local health authority said ahead of World No Tobacco Day on Sunday.

About 37.4 percent of male residents smoked in 2019, down from the previous year's 37.9 percent, while the female smoker rate remained at 0.8 percent.

The daily consumption of cigarettes dropped by 1.4 cigarettes to 13.1 per day, the authority said.

About 1.3 percent of smokers are using e-cigarettes.

Exposure to passive smoking has increased. About 54.6 percent of people said they had been exposed to passive smoking, compared with 46.7 percent in 2018.

“Restaurants, schools, taxis, health facilities and public transport are the places people saw a rise of smokers,” said Wang Tong, from the Shanghai Health Enhancement Commission. “Investigation found the public awareness of the harm caused by smoking and passive smoking need further improvement; there are still 34.7 percent of people who don’t know the harm of low-tar cigarettes is no less than ordinary cigarettes.”

The authority has issued a guideline for local residents which has a “Not smoking while walking” reminder.

“Not smoking at home or not smoking while walking are important to protect other people and we suggest smokers quit the addiction through seeking professional help and support like smoking-quitting clinics in hospitals and family doctors in community health centers,” said Wu Liming, director of the Shanghai Health Promotion Center.

A survey conducted by the authority found 18.6 percent of smokers thinking of quitting within 12 months and 3.7 percent planning to take action within a month. About 24.3 percent have tried to stop smoking in the past 12 months and 30.9 percent had visited hospitals for help.

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