Survey finds cigarettes are a drag in dramas

World Brief

SHANGHAI — A survey on smoking on China’s small screen has revealed that each of the eight highest-rated dramas exposed viewers to an average of 164.6 smoking scenes between 2001 and 2003.

The China Smoking & Health Society survey was released just before the 16th World No-Tobacco Day on June 1. The World Health Organization estimates about 4.9 million people a year die from smoking-related illnesses.

In China, where a pack of 20 cigarettes costs less than a dollar and some popular brands are 30¢, more than 60% of adult men smoke and numbers among women are increasing. The death rate from lung cancer in mainland China has been increasing at an annual rate of about 4.5% since 1990, according to a recent study. China recently instigated laws banning children from buying alcohol and tobacco. Tobacco ads are banned in print and audiovisual media.

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