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China's Women Constantly Inhale Smoke

Exposure to secondhand smoke in China damages the health of this generation and the next.


The scale of China's smoke problem is
unprecedented. Photo via

By Valerie Tejeda


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An alarming amount of women in China are exposed to secondhand smoke, according to a new report, with serious health implications for this generation and the next. Over half of women of reproductive age in the world's most populous nation are exposed to second-hand smoke in the workplace, and almost two-thirds in their homes. The findings, released yesterday, were taken from a survey conducted in China back in 2010 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in China, the US, and the World Health Organization. "There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke," says Michael O'Leary, a WHO representative in China. "Creating 100% smoke-free environments is the only way to protect people from the harmful effects of second-hand tobacco smoke. Tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure in reproductive-aged women can cause adverse reproductive health outcomes, such as pregnancy complications, fetal growth restriction, preterm delivery, stillbirths, and infant death." A quarter of China's 1.3 billion citizens are smokers—more than the entire US population—and nearly 100,000 people die from second-hand smoke alone each year. China is currently developing a plan for tobacco-free public spaces throughout the country.

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