China – The World’s Greatest Cigarette Manufacturer

Published on July 6th, 2015 00:00
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When it comes down to the cigarette business, bigger has long been viewed as considerably better in China. The figures are shocking: China is the world's greatest cigarette manufacturer and consumer, owning approximately 365 million smokers. The industry encourages around 3.6 million farmers, four million tobacco suppliers and half a million-associated employees.

The industry base is China National Tobacco Corporation, a state-owned monopoly that owns over one-third of the world's cigarettes, and manufactures 43 % of tobacco worldwide, based on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Beijing has long took advantage from this agreement, gaining $16 billion a year in industry tax payments, as outlined by an academic paper released in Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine.

These days, there are indicators that Beijing is having a new look at the health outcomes of this habit, and inquiring how public health can be enhanced without overturning a huge, government-supported industry. Several days ago, China's State Council released draft legislation that takes into account a prohibit on all smoking promotion and marketing, and will not permit the sale of cigarettes via vending machines.

The recommended legislation also contains a ban on smoking in indoor public areas, and outdoor spaces near schools, hospitals and fitness grounds. While the law is still subject to agreement, it does reveal that China's leaders are giving even more focus to the damaging outcomes of cigarette use, and the enormous costs it incurs to the health system.

The government has previously made several initiatives to eradicate smoking, and has identified the matter in long-term work projects, but experts point out Beijing has not done enough, possibly since the government worries about job losses and decreasing profits. The group claims tobacco use costs China $5 billion per year in health care costs, decreased labor productiveness and lost tax options.

By Joanna Johnson, Staff Writer.
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