Low-tar cigarettes not less harmful
Updated: 2012-05-31 14:43
BEIJING - China's health authorities used a report published by the Ministry of Health on Wednesday to reiterate that low-tar cigarettes do not reduce harm caused by smoking and that more than 3 million Chinese will die annually from smoking by 2050 if no measures are taken.
The majority of the public has the misconception that "low tar equals low harm," according to the report.
It also said that cigarettes with added Chinese herbal medicine were equally harmful to health as ordinary cigarettes.
According to the report, three-quarters of Chinese are not fully aware of the harm caused by smoking, and two-thirds do not know about the danger of being exposed to second-hand smoking.
China is the largest tobacco producing and consuming country in the world, with more than 300 million smokers and another 740 million people suffering from second-hand smoking.
Zhong Nanshan, a renowned medical expert, said at a conference marketing the report's release that the low-tar cigarettes favored by 90 percent of Chinese smokers are no less harmful than conventional cigarettes.
"Low tar in fact does more harm for it encourages smokers to feel at ease to have more cigarettes," said Zhong.
The expert said that the public has been largely misled by labels such as low tar, harm reduction, and Chinese herbal medicine, and scientific research has approved that low tar can not lower cancer rates.
Moreover, China should make clear advertising laws to ban any kind of advertising, sponsoring and promotion by the tobacco industry, Zhong added.