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WHO praises China signing anti-tobacco pact
Updated: 2005-08-31 06:59

BEIJING - The World Health Organization praised China for ratifying a global treaty aimed at lowering tobacco deaths, saying the move reflected the will of the world's largest cigarette consumer to curb the habit, AFP reported.

WHO praises China signing anti-tobacco pact
Shigeru Omi, the WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, praised China for ratifying a global treaty aimed at lowering tobacco deaths.[AFP]
"This is perhaps the clearest indication yet that the world is increasingly committed to addressing the global tobacco epidemic," said Shigeru Omi, the WHO regional director for the Western Pacific.

"We know that implementing the convention will not be easy, as smoking is an ingrained habit in China, but the government has made clear its commitment to take action."

China's legislature ratified the WHO's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on Sunday, announcing immediately afterwards a ban on tobacco vending machines and a phase-out of tobacco advertising.

Beijing estimates there are 350 million smokers in the country. About 60 percent of Chinese men and three percent of women smoke.

It also appears that the number of children and young female smokers may be increasing significantly, the WHO said.

Tobacco kills 1.2 million Chinese each year.

In the mid-1990s, tobacco use cost the government 6.5 billion dollars annually in health-care costs alone, it said.

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