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China – Smoking Dragon (09 Jun 2004)

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Of the 1.2 billion smokers around the world, 320 million come from China, making the country the biggest cigarette consumer and producer in the world.As 4 million among Shanghai ’ s 13 million population are smokers, eliminating smoking among young people is of the utmost importance. Campaigns such as ‘ Smoke-free Campuses ’ and the ban on tobacco sales to minors have failed to keep youth smoking under control. At hangouts like playgrounds, youngsters with lighted cigarettes can still be easily spotted. While cigarette advertising is not allowed in China, tobacco companies still manage to promote their products indirectly. There are heated debates among professionals in Shanghai on whether tobacco companies should be allowed to sponsor the forthcoming Grand Prix Forum I Car Racing due to be held next year.In China, tobacco production is a state monopoly. Local products take up 99% of total cigarette sales. Is there any conflict of interest, given that the government has to maintain cigarette sales while controlling tobacco use? According to a survey done by a UK journal, if current consumption trends prevail, an estimated two million Chinese will die each year from tobacco-related illness by the year 2025. How could China confront its dual identity in the anti-smoking campaign?

Program: 
Smoke Free Planet
Publish Date: 
Wednesday, June 9, 2004
Station: 
RTHK
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