More than 80 per cent of Shanghai inhabitants want smoking prohibited in restaurants and entertainment places, a recent study showed, reflecting a big awareness of inhabitants’ health in China, the world’s top cigarettes consumer. Approximately a quarter of China’s 1.3 billion residents are smokers, or about as many people as there are in the United States, state media have found.

Shanghai, one of China’s most populous cities, enforced its first anti-smoking legislation in 2010, requiring some public places, such as hospitals, bars, restaurants and even hotels, to establish smoke-free areas and put up signs prohibiting tobacco smoking.

But an investigation by the Shanghai Health Promotion Commission of 15,000 inhabitants, published on Thursday, found that a majority of respondents accepted a total smoking ban in restaurants, entertainment venues and even all working places.

60 per cent of the investigated people declared that cigarette packages should carry labels with health smoking warning, and over 50 per cent were opposed to charity events sponsored by cigarette companies.

China’s Ministry of Health, in a study issued on Wednesday, warned that more than 3 million Chinese would die of smoking-related diseases every year by 2050 if no regulations were taken, the state news agency Xinhua reported.