State of Smoking in India | Foundation for a Smoke-Free World

state of smoking in China

This page was last edited on: June 23, 2022 at 12:18 pm

smoking rate:

Tobacco Use and Trends

  • There are 307.6 million adult smokers in China, making it the country with the largest number of tobacco users in the world.
  • Manufactured cigarettes account for 96.7% of tobacco consumption.
  • Among all types of cigarettes purchased, the proportions of low-tar cigarettes and slim cigarettes are higher, accounting for 42.4% and 33.0% of cigarette consumption respectively.
  • Smoking prevalence is significantly higher among men (50.5%) than women (2.1%).
  • Smoking prevalence is higher in western and middle provinces, in rural areas, and among those with middle school education.
  • Smoking prevalence is highest among farmers (30.6%) and commerce industry workers (30.6%) and lowest among teachers (9.8%) and doctors (14.2%).

Health and Economic Burden From Tobacco Use

  • In 2019, 64.1 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), and 2.7 million deaths could be attributable to tobacco in China.
  • Tobacco is the number one risk factor for the leading causes of deaths and disabilities in China, such as stroke, ischemic heart disease, chronic respiratory disease and lung cancer.
  • The direct cost of treating tobacco-related illness causes a substantial economic burden, totaling an estimated USD 9 billion in 2014, accounting for 1.5% of the total national health expenditure. The overall economic burden from tobacco use in 2014 is estimated at USD 57 billion.

regulatory environment

  • China signed and ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in 2006.
  • Since then, China has released and amended a series of national laws and policies on tobacco control, including cadre smoking ban[1], restrictions on smoking in public places and bans on tobacco advertising to meet its obligations under Article 8 of the FCTC.
  • The State Council[2] launched Healthy China 2030 to reduce adult smoking prevalence to 20% by 2030.
  • The country’s 14th Five Year Plan called for implementing tobacco control actions and strengthening the country’s health education.
  • In 2019, China banned online sales and advertising of e-cigarettes. In March, the government released the Management Rules for E-cigarettes, which takes effect starting 1 May 20.



  • China is the world’s largest tobacco producer, with the total production of cigarettes accounting for over 40% of the world’s total. In 2020, China produced 2.39 trillion sticks of cigarettes.
  • China is also the world’s largest tobacco crop producer and produced 2.13 million tons of tobacco leaves.
  • Since 2017, the Chinese tobacco industry encourages crop substitution and subsidizes tobacco farmers to reduce planting areas at 400 yuan per mu (about $866 USD per hectare).

[1] This ban was issued in 2013 encouraging government officials to take the lead to enforce the smoking ban in public places.

[2] The State Council of the People’s Republic of China is the executive organ of the highest state organ of power, and it is the highest state administrative organ.

*As research findings become available that are inclusive of additional gender identities, the Foundation will update the information presented. 

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