Virginia Hughes has a long piece in September’s issue of the scientific journal Nature, in which she examines the state of smoking and respiratory disease in China. Hughes quotes World Health Organisation estimates which suggest chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) will kill 3 million people a year by 2030.
Hughes’ piece is well worth a read in full but here are the pertinent statistics for you to print out and hand to that guy selling dumplings on the streets who smokes while he handles your food:
- Over half of all men, and about two-thirds of middle aged men, smoke.
- 41% of male Chinese doctors smoke, and about 15% have smoked in front of their patients.
- An anti-smoking clinic in Shanghai only sees about 300 people per year.
- 82.5% of women are exposed to second-hand smoke, despite the fact that only 1 in 50 Chinese women smoke themselves.
- Of the 240 million people in China over 50 in 2007, 1.9 million non-smokers died due to second-hand smoke.
- Women exposed to second-hand smoke were 2.3 times more likely to die from COPD.
- Rural Guangdong has the highest prevalence of COPD, at over 12%, compared to less than 4% in Shanghai.
- A lack of specialized medical equipment means that a large number of Chinese doctors are unable to diagnose COPD and prescribe patients antibiotics, which doesn’t do anything.
- The total cost per year of COPD medication is over 10,953 RMB ($1,732).