Air pollution and Smoking, and a new Roundtable for companies fighting Cancer in China

A stupid new regulation at the Bookworm Beijing

The Bookworm, a bookshop and restaurant in Beijing, has just changed their non- smoking policy to no problem with smoking after 18.00 hours.  That will make the air cleaner here!  Anyway, now that I am talking about Cancer and air pollution; I was at a presentation this week of the newly started Roundtable of CEOs of institutes and companies against Cancer- China Chapter.

Smoking, Cancer and China

My interest in this subject is of course to understand what and how is happening in Healthcare in China these days, and the presentation gave a clear overview of what was happening related to the rise of Cancer diagnosis in China, the different types of Cancer prevalent in China and what the Government in China is doing in Cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Please make a note: there is no hard data available at this time that can track how much the air pollution causes certain types of cancer, mainly because it takes about 4 to 5 years to be able to access, read and interpret the data, and because at the same time of the surge of air pollution, the amount of smokers rose dramatically as well; even today the rise is about 2-2,5 % per year in China.

China is developing rapidly into a global economic powerhouse, and subsequent the Healthcare system is developing rapidly as well. Many Foreign investors are flocking into China to help build up a good Healthcare system for all Chinese, and the costs (and benefits for companies involved) for this operation are enormous.  The Roundtable for CEOs that work in the field of Cancer treatment has started a Chapter in China last year. You would think there would be talk about how to invest, where to sell the right detection equipment, where to start building Cancer treatment Centers, but I discovered that the Chairman of this Global network really was all about fighting Cancer, not just making money in Healthcare:  the Roundtable in China is advocating most strongly and lobbying most urgently to the Chinese Government to enhance the education Smoking and the damage it causes. This was the most effective way for China to stop the rise of Cancer related to smoking: not early detection (where companies can sell equipment), but education and promotion of a Healthy Life Style.   And that may not seem a very businesslike approach towards the Healthcare sector, but the focus on prevention may save more lives- so what is the Responsibility of a Roundtable of Companies in all this?  I was touched by the presentation and the enormity of the problem in China with the ongoing surge of smokers. 

Seven out of ten smokers in China do not believe smoking is harmful. There is a lot to be done yet. And the Bookworm, with a name in broadening young Beijingers’s mind on real and important issues, isn’t helping with its new smoke easy cough more policy.