The on-going Shanghai International Forum on a Healthy City has raised concern over the high prevalence of smoking among specific groups such as young people, specially females, lower socio-economic and indigenous groups.
Smoking, which still remains one of the leading cause of preventable death, has the dubious distinction of affecting all the systems from head to foot.
Li Xinjian, Director of the Shanghai Municipal Center for Disease Prevention and Control asserts that Shanghai still leads the way in terms of the number of adult male tobacco-users, and more young people and females are joining-in.
The average smoking-rate among local people is 25.57 %, made-up mostly of tobacco users in the suburbs, while, 50.61 % of male citizens smoke frequently. Of local nicotine-addicts, 35.53 % are aged from 40 - 44; about 30 % from 30 - 49 and over 30 % are female.
The situation is alarming, since it has been observed that 14.08 % of males and 9.90 % of females start in their teens, and some are even younger than that.
Smoking is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. It has been linked to a number of psychiatric disorders, including mood disorders, schizophrenia and substance disorders, among others.
Early smoking is shown to increase the risk for emergence of certain anxiety disorders (e.g., panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder), and that presence of certain anxiety disorders (e.g., social anxiety) increases the risk for later development of nicotine dependence.
There is thus, need for a strong resolve in the community to combat this habit, and strict control measures on smoking and the use of tobacco are required.