BEIJING (AP) — 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 on Saturday 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 percent of adults in China smoke — about 300 million people, a number roughly equal to the entire U.S. population.
The risks of secondhand smoke include increased asthma attacks, ear and respiratory infections, and cancer.