The Toll of Tobacco in China | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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Tobacco Consumption

  • Among adults (age 15+), 26.6% of the population smoke, with a significant difference between genders—50.5% of Chinese men and 2.1% of Chinese women smoke.1
  • Among youth (junior high school students, median age 14), 3.9% smoke (boys 5.8%; girls 1.8%).2
  • China has approximately 307.6 million smokers.1

Secondhand Smoke Exposure

  • 50.9% of adults are exposed to secondhand smoke in the workplace, 73.3% in restaurants, and 12.9% on public transportation.1
  • 57.2% of youth (ages 13-15) are exposed to secondhand smoke inside enclosed public spaces, and 44.4% are exposed at home.3

Health Consequences

  • An estimated 2.5 million Chinese die from tobacco-related diseases each year.3
  • The number of annual deaths from tobacco-attributable lung, tracheal, and bronchus cancers in China has more than doubled in the past 20 years, reaching about 460,000.4
  • Smoking causes almost 23% of all cancers in China.5
  • Chinese male smokers are almost 6 times more likely to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) than Chinese male non-smokers.6

Tobacco Industry

China is the world's largest producer and consumer of tobacco. The Chinese tobacco market is dominated by the government monopoly China National Tobacco Corporation (CNTC), which holds virtually the entire Chinese cigarette market. Nearly 2.4 trillion cigarettes were sold in China in 2018.7

FCTC Status

China ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on August 28, 2005. The treaty went into effect on January 9, 2006.

Tobacco Control Policy Status

For a summary of measures on smoke-free places, advertising and promotion, packaging and labeling, and taxation and price, download the China Tobacco Control Policy Status fact sheet. For more information visit the Tobacco Control Laws website.

1 China Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2018.
2 Liu S et al. Tobacco Use and Exposure Among Secondary School Students — China, 2019 . China CDC Weekly. 2020; vol2, no22: 385-393.
3 China Global Youth Tobacco Survey, 2017; National.
4 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2020. Seattle, WA: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), University of Washington; 2015.
5 China Ministry of Health. Third National Survey on Causes of Mortality [in Chinese]. Beijing, China; 2008.
6 Lin HH et al. Effects of smoking and solid-fuel use on COPD, lung cancer, and tuberculosis in China: a time-based, multiple risk factor, modeling study. Lancet. 2008; 372 (9648): 1473-1483.
7Euromonitor International; 2019.

Last updated October 1, 2020