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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health
Building capacity for a tobacco-free world
July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA
Objective: To collect available data on tobacco use among Chinese adolescents from surveys and published reports to generate a best estimate of adolescent tobacco use in China.
Methods: Survey data from approximately 21,500 adolescents in different regions of China (Chongqing,Tianjing, Guandong, Shandong, Beijing, Urumqi, Hangzhou, Wuhan) were analyzed to identify similarities and differences in tobacco use among different groups. These results were compared with published survey results.
Results: Initial analysis suggests that adolescent tobacco use rates ranged from 8% to 28% depending on the age of adolescents, type of school attended, gender, geographic location, and how tobacco use was defined. Gender and regional differences are significant. Knowledge/attitude questions answered by approximately half of the survey sample suggest tobacco users recognize personal and social advantages from tobacco use. A critique of study methods, definitions of smoking/tobacco use, and other variables suggest explanations for some differences between tobacco users and non-users. Chinese adolescents appear to use tobacco at rates lower than most western adolescents and to take up smoking when they transition to work. The policy implications of these findings are discussed in detail.