China Eyes Public Smoking Ban

As one of the world’s largest producers and consumers of tobacco, China has seen a twofold increase in cigarette production over the last decade. With a looming public health crisis predicted with more than one million lung cancer patients by 2025, Chinese authorities are beginning to look for ways to curb smoking. From China Real Time:

Within the next year, China’s legislators will accelerate efforts to enact a national regulation banning smoking in public places in China, said Yang Jie, deputy director of Tobacco Control Office for the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, at a news briefing on tobacco-related health problems in China. Mr. Yang said China’s State Council, the country’s cabinet, is currently planning the regulation and it is expected to be enacted next year.

[...] The statement follows the release of a book by China’s Central Party School, an elite Chinese Communist Party think tank, in recent months urging officials to shake up China’s tobacco monopoly, which is responsible for tobacco production and sales and has the freedom to donate to schools and sell cigarette cartons without pictures of black lungs for warnings. Its authors call for higher tobacco taxes, halting government financing to tobacco companies and encouraging them to find alternative business models.

[...] But changing the current system won’t be easy. Beijing has said long said it is determined to tackle the country’s smoking problem, but so far has had little success. Cigarettes remain cheap, with many available for less than $1 a pack. The World Health Organization recommended last year that China triple its tobacco tax to 70% to discourage young would-be smokers from buying. [Source]

 

Read more about smoking and the tobacco industry in China, via CDT.