13 China colleges to offer anti-smoking courses

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Thirteen Chinese medical colleges will introduce smoking control courses into their curriculum amid efforts to help raise public awareness about the dangers of smoking.

It will be the first time that Chinese universities have offered such courses, Shen Huahao, vice dean of the School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, said Tuesday.

No smoking.[File photo]

No smoking.[File photo]

The school is among the 13 medical colleges, including Peking Union Medical College and medical schools at Peking University and Fudan University.

Some colleges would start offering the courses lasting 16 to 32 class hours, as early as next semester, said Shen. He added no decision had yet been made if the courses would be compulsory or optional.

At least 6,500 students were expected to take the courses each year, for them to complete a five year anti-smoking education program, Shen said.

"We hope to increase smoking control efforts, starting from in schools," he said. "We'll train the medical students so they know the dangers of smoking."

More than half of Chinese male doctors are smokers, which affects their role in offering anti-smoking advice for patients and the public, the college official said.

The program is sponsored by China Medical Board and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

China has more than 300 million smokers, the world's largest, with more than two trillion cigarettes sold in the country every year. More than 500 million people are exposed to passive smoking, mostly at home, in public places and offices annually.

Earlier on March 1, Hangzhou, capital of eastern Zhejiang province, and Shanghai implemented regulations to ban indoor smoking at about 10 types of public places.

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