WSJ: China’s Smoking Habit Wrap Up

Good wrap up by James T. Arredy of national smoking survey data just released by China CDC and WHO.  To keep my resummarizing simple and painless I will just include the graph released by the study makers.

Here’s my three cents.

1) Pinning down the number of smokers in a particular area is difficult because people (get ready) will lie about if they smoke and how much they smoke.  It’s so hard that the latter number is almost impossible to get with any degree of certainty, even though for medical purposes the number is an important one.  Doctor’s are most concerned with the number of pack years someone has, for example: a number calculated by calculating the number of packs one smokes a day, or fraction of a pack one smokes per day, and multiplies it by the years, or fractions of a year one has smoked.  At the bottom of his wrap up James T. Arredy asks how it is possible for 3 out of 10 people surveyed to never have been exposed to second hand smoke?  In real life, it very well might not be true.

2.) It’s encouraging to see that with each generational segment, the percentage of women smoking has  been cut in half.  The youngest generation of men is half as likely to smoke as the 45-64 old group – an encouraging sign though 33% of 15-24 year olds smoking is still too much.

3.) Most lifelong smokers start before the age of 18.  The figure for the current generation of 15-24 year olds will likely not rise much beyond current levels.

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