16 Feb 2010

China Expands Smoking Ban to 7 Cities

Chinese authorities plan to expand smoking bans in indoor public places across 7 major provincial capitals. But the numbers just don't look too promising.

Smoking is a huge business in China: 2 trillion cigarettes are sold in the country every year. The country accounts for more than one-quarter of the world's 1.3 billion smokers, with about 60 percent of Chinese men and 3 percent of women indulging in the habit.

Taxes from tobacco sales topped 416 billion yuan ($61 billion) last year, up 26.2 percent from 2008, according to a report issued last week by the state tobacco industry regulator. Interest on government loans to the industry added another 97 billion yuan ($14 billion).

A lot of this money is raised by the provinces rather than central government, making it even harder to curb cigarette sales. Stressed out local administrators will probably need a few extra packets now.

[Yahoo Finance]

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