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From VOA Learning English, this is the Health Report.
A new study finds that stronger anti-smoking measures could prevent more than 13 million deaths in China over the next 40 years. The study findings were published in the British Medical Journal. China signed the World Health Organization’s international treaty on tobacco control in 2003. But it has not put in place many of the WHO’s suggestions for controlling tobacco use. Experts warn that without stronger anti-smoking measures, there could be 50 million tobacco-related deaths in China before the year 2050. Researchers used a computer program to make their prediction. David Levy works at Georgetown University’s Lombardi Cancer Center in Washington, DC. He says China has one-third of the world’s cigarette smokers. More than half of all Chinese men are smokers. David Levy says people often begin smoking without knowing it will harm their health. The WHO plan calls for a ban on smoking in all public places. It calls for health warnings on cigarette packages and programs to help smokers stop. And, it says, there should be higher taxes on tobacco products. After signing the WHO agreement, China ordered a 12 percent tax on cigarettes. But the government did not force buyers to pay the tax. Teh-we Hu is a tobacco control expert and a professor emeritus at the University of California Berkeley. He helped to write a report on the study. He says former Chinese President Hu Jintao supported a ban on smoking in public. The professor says the most effective anti-smoking measure in China would be a large increase in the cigarette tax. But he does not expect that to happen soon.