One million people in China die annually from smoking-related diseases

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Every year more than one million people in China die as a result of tobacco-related illness, according to the World Health Organization's Director-General.

Margaret Chan made the remarks as she concluded an official visit to the country on Wednesday.

She urged China to take urgent action to strengthen its tobacco control policies to reduce deaths from smoking.

Those policies include creating smoke-free environments, bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, graphic warnings on tobacco packs and higher taxes.

Ms Chan said the Chinese government had made "remarkable progress" with health reform in recent years, increasing health insurance coverage to 95 per cent of the population.

However, Ms Chan warned, without action and commitment, the burden of non-communicable disease such as cancer, chronic lung disease and diabetes will be "devastating" for the country's future.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 58″

Filed under Today's News.
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