- News Home
17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
- About Us
China Faces Health Crisis
19 November 1998 7:00 pm
Smoking will kill 100 million men in China--one in every three now younger than 30--by the time they reach middle or old age, according to two papers published in tomorrow's British Medical Journal. "This alarming study is a landmark in public health research," says Jeffrey Koplan, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. "These data portend the coming of a devastating epidemic to China in the 21st century."
The findings are the result of a long-term collaboration between the Chinese Academies of Preventative Medicine and Medical Sciences in Beijing, Oxford University, and Cornell University. After surveying the smoking habits of 1.25 million men in several Chinese cities and rural areas, the researchers found that smoking already causes about 750,000 deaths per year. The team interviewed the families of all men who had died in a sample of Chinese provinces to determine factors, including smoking, that may have contributed to their deaths. This death rate will probably rise to 3 million by the time young smokers reach middle and old age, the researchers estimate.
The health risks of smoking are not widely known among the Chinese population, which consumes one third of current global cigarette production. "A 1996 nationwide survey showed that two-thirds believe smoking does little or no harm," says epidemiologist Richard Peto of Oxford University. Only 4% of adults know that smoking can cause heart disease, he notes, and just 40% realize that smokers risk lung cancer.
Tobacco-related deaths will probably keep mounting, the researchers say. By the turn of the century, cigarettes will kill an annual 4 million people worldwide; half in rich countries and half in the developing world. If current smoking trends persist, the researchers predict this rate will rise to 10 million deaths per year in 2030, with 70% in poor countries. Many regions may soon get a better handle on this grim prospect: The team's survey of young people's smoking behavior and older people's causes of death are now being adopted by countries in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America to study their own emerging tobacco epidemics.