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Bill Gates in Beijing to highlight dangers of secondary smoke

Microsoft founder appears at conference in China to encourage nonsmokers to insist on having a smoke-free environment.

Baidu CEO, Robin Li, left, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, right, smile wearing green t-shirts with the words
Baidu CEO, Robin Li, left, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, right, smile wearing green t-shirts with the words "Say No to Involuntary Smoking" during a press conference to promote public health and a smoke free environment in Beijing, China.
Image: AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

MICROSOFT FOUNDER and philanthropist Bill Gates is visiting China to raise awareness of the dangers of secondhand smoke.

Gates appeared at a news conference in Beijing today alongside Chinese Internet executive Robin Li and Vice Health Minister Huang Jiefu to encourage nonsmokers to stand up for their right to a smoke-free environment.

According to government statistics, smoking is linked to the deaths of at least 1 million people in China every year, making it one of the greatest health threats the country faces. Nearly 30 per cent of adults in China smoke — about 300 million people, a number roughly equal to the entire US population.

The risks of secondhand smoke include increased asthma attacks, ear and respiratory infections, and cancer.

- AP

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