Friday, 3 January 2014

Hard to Break the Habit

Beijing's determination to clamp down on smoking is a puff of air
Just before the new year, China announced it would ban officials from smoking in indoor and public areas in a bid to encourage the general population to stop lighting up.

However with the integrity of Chinese officials hardly worth respecting thanks to the many outed by outrageous corruption, greed and complete lack of common sense, why would any intelligent person follow their example?

Meanwhile a UK study published in the New England Journal of Medicine says that if tobacco taxes globally were tripled, the number of smokers would be reduced by one-third.

Researchers say that would equate to saving 200 million people from premature deaths due to lung cancer and other related diseases worldwide.

But it doesn't seem like the Chinese government will take drastic action yet since it owns the tobacco industry and earns a lot of taxes from this lucrative sector, where cigarettes can be a relatively cheap habit to maintain -- depending on what you're puffing.

The UK researchers said it was imperative for China to play a role in addressing the smoking issue.

"Cigarette consumption in China continues to rise steeply and now accounts for more than 2 trillion of a worldwide total of about 6 trillion cigarettes smoked per year," they wrote in the paper.

"Tobacco already accounts for about 12 to 25 percent of deaths among men in low- and middle-income countries such as China. A low reliance on specific excise taxes on tobacco by China... discourages smoking cessation."

Professor Yang Gonghuan, director of China's National Office of Tobacco Control -- yes the mainland really has such an organization but its voice is like a lone cry in the wilderness -- said the Chinese government was unlikely to adopt the drastic increase in taxes.

Increasing tobacco taxes has been studied for a long time but never been implemented due to the powerful lobbying of the tobacco industry.

Tax on tobacco was last raised in 2009, but the industry was compensated through other policies so that it could increase the availability of cheaper cigarettes.

China made 865 billion yuan in tax revenue last year from over 300 million smokers, up 16 percent in from 2011. China National Tobacco Corp revealed last year in a rare regulatory filing that it made 300 million yuan a day in net profit in 2010. It's jaw-dropping, but also reveals how the government is also sucked deep into the habit of wanting to keep the cigarette industry going.

Meanwhile an estimated 1.2 million die from smoking-related causes each year. What is more important? More tax coffers to line officials' pockets or a healthier and more productive population to continue to boost China's GDP?

Obviously we know where the Chinese government stands on this issue...


  1. "Just before the new year, China announced it would ban officials from smoking in indoor and public areas in a bid to encourage the general population to stop lighting up."

    So the general populace are still allowed to smoke indoors, including in bars and restaurants? Yikes! As though having to deal with the air pollution outside weren't bad enough... :(

    1. Hi YTSL -- Currently they have banned smoking in hospitals, schools, sports venues and public transport vehicles but yes they can still light up in bars and restaurants! There's no such thing as a non-smoking area...

  2. This is the main thing to every smoking person. Thanks for sharing this information and also i agree with your topic and wonderful content of your blog.

  3. Hi V Smoke -- Thanks for for your comments!