One in three of all the young men in China will eventually be killed by tobacco, unless a substantial proportion stop smoking, according to new research published in The Lancet.
The study was conducted by scientists from Oxford University, the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and the Chinese Center for Disease Control.
It says two-thirds of men in China now start to smoke before 20. Around half of those men will die from the habit if they do not give up smoking.
The scientists conducted two nationwide studies, 15 years apart, covering hundreds of thousands of people. In 2010, around one million people in China died from tobacco usage. But researchers say that if current trends continue, that will double to two million people – mostly men – dying every year by 2030, making it a "growing epidemic of premature death". Researchers said the key to avoid this huge wave of deaths is cessation.
While smoking rates have fallen in developed countries – to less than one in five in the US.
they have risen in China, as cigarettes have become more available and consumers richer.
Globally, tobacco kills up to half of its users, according to the World Health Organization. Authorities have shown concern over the rise, with Beijing even introducing apublic smoking ban. But efforts have been hampered by the habit's popularity, and its usefulness as a source of tax revenue。Besides, smoking has become a culture in China.