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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