It was discovered that in China there are world’s highest rates of smoking with almost 320 million smokers that is more than the US population. These numbers may make officials work actively on implementing anti-smoking programs which will help smokers kick their nicotine habit. Experts say that increasing concerns over public health and a change in leadership could go a long way in changing the role cigarettes play today in Chinese business and politics.
Many countries in the world force tobacco manufacturers to remove their logos or increase the size of health warnings.However, in China tobacco companies have no such restrictions because China’s regulator of the tobacco industry is also the owner of the country’s largest cigarette manufacturer. The talk is about China National Tobacco which actively blocks anti-smoking campaigns and says that tobacco companies always sell a certain amount of cheap cigarettes.
However, there are signs that slowly things do change. Researcher from the Brookings Institution Cheng Li said recently that China’s newest generation of leaders appear more motivated than their predecessors to create a positive image with the public. Today public health has become one of most important issues in China.
No wonder the government is actively putting their efforts on anti-smoking measures. In 2012 the government released a report on health effects of smoking. Officials recently promised to prohibit smoking in all public places across the country by 2015. However, there is no guarantee that anti-smoking measures will work. Let us remember 2011 when there was introduced smoking ban in all indoor public spaces. The law was poorly observed.
China has banned cigarette ads on TV, mass media, films, stadiums and waiting rooms, but not in advertising online or outdoors. Marketing is still so pervasive that almost 9 in 10 Chinese kids surveyed could identify at least one cigarette brand by its logo, according to a study published recently. .
The problem is, Chinese government depends heavily on the tobacco industry. Li notes that profits from tobacco companies made up between 7% to 10% of the government’s tax revenues, and almost half of tax revenues in some provinces like Yunnan, one of the country’s biggest tobacco producing regions.
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