Beijing, Jan 7 (ANI): An international panel of experts have warned that loss in productivity because of health problems caused by smoking related habits would hamper China's economic growth.
The amount of money spent on health problems due to smoking reportedly far exceed the tobacco industry's contribution in terms of profits and jobs it generates.
The China Daily quoted them as saying that China's addiction to huge revenues from the State-owned tobacco monopoly is hindering anti-smoking measures, potentially costing millions of lives in the country with the world's largest number of smokers.
The warnings, issued in a report 'Tobacco Control and the Future of China' prepared by a group of prominent public health experts and economists, came amid calls for the government to give stronger support to tobacco-control measures."As the health impact of smoking, including rising heart disease and lung cancer, gradually emerges, unless there is effective government intervention, it will affect China's overall economic growth due to lost productivity," Yang Gonghuan, Deputy Director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said.
According to the report, treating people for smoking-related illnesses and dealing with tobacco-related issues such as pollution cost the Government 61.8 billion Yuan (9.3 billion dollars).
Official data released last month said the tobacco industry made 65.9 billion Yuan in profits in the first 11 months of last year, 6.3 percent higher than the previous year.
China is the world's largest tobacco producing and consuming country, with more than 300 million smokers on the mainland, and each year, about 1.2 million people die from smoking-related diseases on the mainland and the figure will increase to 3.5 million by 2030, according to estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO).
Xu Guihua, Deputy Director of the Chinese Association on Tobacco Control, said that the report was released days ahead of a Sunday deadline that China will fail to meet as a member of WHO's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
Measures to be taken before the deadline include banning smoking in public indoor venues as well as a total ban on tobacco-related advertising and sponsorship, Xu added. (ANI)