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November 12, 1997

Beyond the Clouds—Tobacco Smoking in China

Author Affiliations

From the Asian Consultancy on Tobacco Control, Hong Kong, China.

JAMA. 1997;278(18):1531-1532. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550180081043

Two articles from China in this issue of The Journal1,2 document that the effects of cigarette smoking on health know no boundaries; if Chinese men smoke like American men, they die like American men; if women smoke like men, they die like men. These studies dispel any lingering doubt that the tobacco epidemic in China might not be as serious as it is in the West. Unfortunately, substantial and rapidly increasing numbers of deaths from cigarette smoking in China now reflect the smoking habits of the last several decades. And the worst is yet to come. Speaking at the 10th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Beijing, August 24 to 28, 1997, Peto revised his previous estimate of tobacco-attributable deaths in China from 0.5 million to about 0.7 million annually and increased his estimate for deaths in 2025 from 2 million to 3 million.3

See also pp 1500