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In the past, I always thought that attempts to curb cigarette smoking in China were a fruitless effort, in that the government owns most of the cigarette manufacturing companies, and stands to reap the profits of smokers. |
However, according to studies done by Beijing University, China actually lost more money last year (250 billion yuan, to be exact) from smoking than the pre-tax profits it reaped from the industry (240 billion yuan).
The loss of money comes from treatment of 23 major smoking-related illnesses (166 billion yuan), damages and deaths caused by smoking-related fires, environmental pollution, loss of work, and shortened life-span.
And that's only the losses incurred by government. When you add to that the financial losses of individual Chinese citizens and independent businesses due to illness, loss of work, and property damage, (not to mention the cost of the cigarettes) the figure probably doubles at least.
The current rate of smoking in China is around 35.8%, mostly male.
It is to the benefit of the Chinese government and certainly to the Chinese people as a whole to initiate a vigorous campaign to reduce smoking in this country.
A very effective way to do this is banning smoking in public buildings (restaurants, offices, etc.), and strictly enforcing the bans, which will not only force the smokers to take their "cancer-sticks" outside, thus reducing the number of cigarettes they smoke in a day, but will also protect non-smokers from inhaling the 2nd hand smoke.
Other effective measures include education campaigns in the schools and communties, national "smoke-out" days, increased taxes on cigarettes, and providing free or cheap nicotine patches to those trying to quit the habit.
The mayor of New York City recently implemented a number of the above measures, and saw a significant reduction of smokers within about one year. Many states throughout the U.S. are banning smoking in public places, and the rate of American smokers now stands at about 20%.
It can be done, China, and the result will be a healthier people, with more money in their pockets!!!
[ Last edited by karenb at 2007-3-20 02:30 PM ]