Monday, February 2, 2009

Cigarettes sent as gifts undermines China's anti-smoking programme

We all know that smoking is bad for health. But there is a special tradition in China. When festivals come, just like the Spring Festival, people buy cigarettes as presents for the elders and friends, despite knowing all the harms of smoking. Even in normal times, they give cigarettes when meeting new friends or visiting relatives, either to show friendliness or respect.

So the truth is, not only are the smokers exchanging cigarettes as gifts, nonsmokers are also fanning the flame by buying cigarettes for their friends and family and are unwittingly exposing themselves to second-hand smoke. This has greatly increased the difficulties of anti-smoking in China.

Experts on tobacco control call for more understanding and support. Just days ahead of the Spring Festival, the Ministry of Health(MOH), the World Health Organization, and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention jointly launched a program to distribute 200,000 anti-smoking posters across the country.

"You have sent your friends both blessings and respiratory problems such as lung caner; you have sent your colleagues both respect and cardio vascular diseases such as heart disorders and stroke; you have sent your family love, care and death," a poster reads.

More info:

Every year, China incurrs a huge loss from smoking. A great part of the cost was paid for medical treatment to 23 major diseases caused by smoking. Another great loss was caused by delay of work, passive smoking, fires, environmental pollution and shortened life span.

Years ago, Chinese government had realized the problem of smoking, and took some actions on smoking control and anti-smoking activities. For example, cracking down on tobacco advertisements and punishing smoking in public places.

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