China is facing a public health crisis with over 350 million smokers, representing nearly one-third of all smokers in the world. The World Health Organization estimates that one million smokers in China die from tobacco-related illnesses each year, and this number is expected to rise to 2.2 million deaths by 2020.
Despite these grim facts, more than three-fourths of Chinese smokers have no plans to quit smoking. Furthermore, less than one-third of smokers are aware of the harmful effects smoking has on their health, according to new research based on the International Tobacco Control (ICT) China Survey.
There is a need for smoking cessation support, anti-tobacco laws, higher cigarette taxes and awareness of the health risks of smoking.
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