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JAMA. 1999 Oct 6;282(13):1247-53.

Smoking in China: findings of the 1996 National Prevalence Survey.

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Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine and Chinese Association on Smoking and Health, Beijing.



As the world's largest producer and consumer of tobacco products, China bears a large proportion of the global burden of smoking-related disease and may be experiencing a tobacco epidemic.


To develop an evidence-based approach supporting tobacco control initiatives in China.


A population-based survey consisting of a 52-item questionnaire that included information on demographics, smoking history, smoking-related knowledge and attitudes, cessation, passive smoke exposure, and health status was administered in 145 disease surveillance points in the 30 provinces of China from March through July 1996.


A nationally representative random sample of 128766 persons aged 15 to 69 years were asked to participate; 120298 (93.8%) provided data and were included in the final analysis. About two thirds of those sampled were from rural areas and one third were from urban areas.


Current smoking patterns and attitudes; changes in smoking patterns and attitudes compared with results of a previous national survey conducted in 1984.


A total of 41187 respondents smoked at least 1 cigarette per day, accounting for 34.1% of the total number of respondents, an increase of 3.4 percentage points since 1984. Current smoking continues to be prevalent among more men (63%) than women (3.8%). Age at smoking initiation declined by about 3 years for both men and women (from 28 to 25 years). Only a minority of smokers recognized that lung cancer (36%) and heart disease (4%) can be caused by smoking. Of the nonsmokers, 53.5% were exposed to environmental tobacco smoke at least 15 minutes per day on more than 1 day per week. Respondents were generally supportive of tobacco control measures.


The high rates of smoking in men found in this study signal an urgent need for smoking prevention and cessation efforts; tobacco control initiatives are needed to maintain or decrease the currently low smoking prevalence in women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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