We have talked about the smoking and tobacco problem in America several times. I recently came across some information about the same issue in China and I thought you might be interested. In China tobacco is controlled by a state-run monopoly, the China National Tobacco Company. Tobacco generates a great deal of money for China, so much so that China has been called the tobacco capital of the world.
China has one of the world’s highest rates of smoking in the workplace, homes and public spaces. 68% of the men in China are smokers. Half of these smoking men will lose their lives to smoking related illness, cutting their lives short by at least a decade. The deaths due to smoking in China will reach 2 million annually by 2030 and 3 million annually by 2050. In Beijing, which has one of the most polluted city environments, a new “smoke free” law has been enacted and additional taxes have been levied on tobacco along with restrictions on advertising, especially to minors.
These measures have so far not increased the price of cigarettes nor reduced the smoking rate. It has been said that about one third of Chinese smokers support some type of “smoke free” ban. Once again there has been little practical change in smoking practices. Given the large amount of revenue collected by the state-run tobacco monopoly and the 1.3 billion Chinese citizens affected by a slowing economy and air pollution, I wonder if smoking rates will change soon.