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Children taking up cigarettes

[ 2009-07-29 11:38]     字号 [] [] []  
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More teens are smoking in Beijing, where the number of primary and middle school students picking up the habit has more than doubled from previous years, a survey has found.

The survey conducted by Beijing's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently polled nearly 40,000 students across the capital on their smoking behavior last year. The survey has been conducted every two years since 2005.

The poll showed 17 percent of students at the primary and secondary level picked up cigarettes last year, up from 7 percent in 2005. Among the respondents, 23 percent of boys and 11 percent of girls tried smoking in 2008, compared with 11 percent of boys and 3 percent of girls in 2005.

The survey also found 51 percent of vocational high school students tried to smoke last year, 11 percent higher than in 2005.

"Influenced by television, magazines, other public media, and environmental factors, more and more teenagers are picking up cigarettes," Zhao Tao, the disease control section chief of Beijing health bureau, said at a press conference yesterday.

The survey found that: 83 percent learned about smoking and health information from television, 70 percent from teachers, 65 percent from parents, 57 percent from posters and 56 percent from newspapers.

Wang Guan, a school health official of the Beijing CDC, told China Daily that most teenage smokers are light smokers, with 77 percent smoking fewer than five cigarettes a day.

But the age when teenagers smoke their first cigarette is getting younger, she said.

Some parents seem to be unconcerned about their children adopting the bad habit.

"I'm not worried about my 16-year-old son getting into smoking," said Chen Qing, a 46-year-old Beijing cab driver who has smoked 10 cigarettes a day for 20 years.

Chen said that his son, Chen Xiaoyue, tries to persuade him to quit smoking every time he picks up a cigarette at home.

In 2008, the city had about 1.2 million primary and middle school students, and about 71,000 vocational high school students, according to Beijing municipal commission of education.

Scientific research has found that smoking causes more than 25 serious diseases endangering life and health, including lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease, stroke and impotence, said Lu Bin, senior communications officer of World Lung Foundation.

"Illnesses resulting from smoking cause medical costs to increase, a loss of productivity, early death and a decrease in family income,” she said.

Since last year, central and local governments have paid a lot of attention to the control of tobacco in a country with more than 350 million smokers. In May 2008, the capital banned smoking in public places, including restaurants, hotels, offices, hospitals and schools, to meet China's pledge of a smoke-free Olympics.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Children taking up cigarettes

About the broadcaster:

Children taking up cigarettes

Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move to China and join the China Daily team.