Latest Results from Adult Tobacco Survey Conducted by Chinese CDC
The latest findings from a tobacco survey conducted by the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) were unveiled at a meeting on November 13.
According to the data, the smoking rate among individuals aged 15 and above in 2022 was 24.1%, maintaining a downward trend. However, the smoking rate among males remains alarmingly high at 45.3%, while that among females is significantly lower at 2.3%.
The Deputy Director of the Office of Tobacco Control at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Xiao Lin, has revealed that this survey began in July last year and was completed in May this year due to the pandemic. The study focused on Chinese residents aged 15 and above who do not live in collective residences, involving 200,000 people from 31 provinces and 630 monitoring points. The survey included information on tobacco use, e-cigarette use, smoking cessation, secondhand smoke exposure, and prices. In terms of specific data, the age group of 15-24 showed the largest decrease in smoking rates, which aligns with the results of the national survey on tobacco use among adolescents.
However, the daily cigarette consumption among smokers is on the rise. According to the data, the number of cigarettes smoked per day increased from 16 in 2018 to 16.8 in 2022. When broken down, men smoke an average of 17 cigarettes per day, while women smoke 13.8 cigarettes. Among the age group of 45-64, the highest cigarette consumption is recorded, with individuals smoking an average of 18.4 cigarettes per day.
Several sets of data related to smoking cessation show positive trends. According to a survey, both the intention and attempted quitting rate among smokers have increased: 6.9% of smokers plan to quit smoking within one month, 14.7% plan to quit within 12 months, and 23.8% of smokers reported attempting to quit in the past 12 months. "Overall, it seems that smokers are putting quitting on the agenda and taking action," said Xiao Lin.
Meanwhile, the smoking cessation rate among individuals aged 15 and above has risen from 20.1% in 2018 to 22.4% in 2022. In terms of specific demographics, women exhibit a higher smoking cessation rate compared to men, while individuals aged 65 and above demonstrate the highest rate of quitting smoking.
It should be noted that quitting smoking is not solely reliant on personal determination, as nicotine addiction is actually a chronic disease. Smokers who seek standardized treatment in smoking cessation clinics can increase their success rate by 1-2 times. Xiao Lin introduced that individuals can search for the "China Smoking Cessation Platform" mini-program on WeChat to find detailed information about smoking cessation hotlines and clinics in all 31 provinces.
Data related to secondhand smoke has also shown improvement. A survey found that in 2022, the exposure rate to secondhand smoke among non-smokers aged 15 and above was 52.4%, a decrease of 15% compared to 2018. The exposure rates in government offices, healthcare institutions, indoor workplaces, public transportation, restaurants, universities, and homes have all significantly decreased. "Overall, the situation regarding secondhand smoke has improved," said Xiaolin.
However, some experts present at the conference believe that the decline in the data might be attributed to the strict epidemic prevention measures implemented last year. As the prevention measures restricted smokers from smoking in various public spaces, the actual smoking rate will need to be observed over the next few years to determine its long-term impact.
Several data points are displaying less-than-ideal performance. Despite strict regulations on tobacco advertising, a survey has found that the proportion of the public being exposed to tobacco marketing information is actually increasing. The data reveals that the percentages of individuals encountering tobacco advertisements in retail stores and online stand at 73.5% and 55.5%, respectively, indicating insufficient regulatory enforcement.
Meanwhile, the proportion of people aware of the dangers of tobacco is also declining. For example, in 2022, the proportion of people aged 15 and above who are aware that smoking causes lung cancer is 71.2%, a decrease from previous years. The awareness rate of secondhand smoke causing adult lung cancer is 62.8%, also a decrease from previous years. "It would be best to have health warnings on cigarette packaging that are visible to all smokers. This would be the most effective approach, but currently, we don't see this happening," said Xiao Lin.
It should be noted that although the smoking rate has continued to decline, there is still a significant gap from the smoking control targets set by the country. The "Healthy China 2030" plan outlined the goal of reducing the smoking rate among individuals aged 15 and above to 20% by 2030. As the deadline approaches, smoking control experts widely hope for increased policy efforts to promote tobacco control initiatives.
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