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Health Study : China faces smoking 'death epidemic'

China faces smoking 'death epidemic'.

A new study has warned that a third of all men currently under the age of 20 in China will eventually die prematurely if they do not give up smoking.

The research, published in The Lancet medical journal, says two-thirds of men in China now start to smoke before 20.

Around half of those men will die from the habit, it concludes.
The scientists conducted two nationwide studies, 15 years apart, covering hundreds of thousands of people.
If current trends continue, the annual number of tobacco deaths in China, mostly among men, will reach two million by 2030, the research said calling it a "growing epidemic of premature death".

The study was conducted by scientists from Oxford University, the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and the Chinese Center for Disease Control.

But co-author Richard Peto said there was hope - if people can be persuaded to quit.

"The key to avoid this huge wave of deaths is cessation, and if you are a young man, don't start," he said.

While smoking rates have fallen in developed countries - to less than one in five in the US - they have risen in China, as cigarettes have become more available and consumers richer.

Authorities have shown concern over the rise, with Beijing even introducing a public smoking ban. But efforts have been hampered by the habit's popularity, and its usefulness as a source of tax revenue.

Globally, tobacco kills up to half of its users, according to the World Health.

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