When I came upon the figures for smoking among Chinese men in China I was shocked. Especially because we have elevated various Chinese health practices to iconic status in the US. Apparently it’s part of their culture. But not a good one. I learned about this the other day in the New York Times. According to the Times, nearly 70 percent of men in both China and South Korea smoke. In New York City, which I imagine can be a statistical proxy for the rest of the country by demographic group, rates are much, much lower than in China. Nonetheless, 17% of Asian men smoke vs 15.6% of whites and 12.5% of blacks. So many gains in public health in the USA can be traced to the decrease in smoking and the constant campaign by the government and public health agencies to get people to quit smoking. What is so ridiculous, is all the years the tobacco companies were saying smoking wasn’t harmful, life insurance companies, who can’t afford to delude themselves or they go broke, were “rating up” smokers as that industry refers to it. If you bought life insurance and looked at the mortality tables for smokers vs non-smokers it was clear for decades that smoking was bad for you, further, smokers have had to and have to now pay more for life insurance.
[Source: New York Times]