Tob Control 14:247-250 doi:10.1136/tc.2004.010777
  • Research paper

Smoking, standard of living, and poverty in China

  1. T-w Hu1,
  2. Z Mao2,
  3. Y Liu3,
  4. J de Beyer4,
  5. M Ong5
  1. 1University of California, Berkeley, California, USA
  2. 2Sichuan University, Sichuan, China
  3. 3Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
  4. 4World Bank, Washington DC, USA
  5. 5Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor Teh-wei Hu
 PhD, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, Room 412 Warren Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA;
  • Received 3 December 2004
  • Accepted 18 May 2005


Objectives: To analyse differences in smoking behaviour and smoking expenditures among low and high income households in China and the impact of smoking on standard of living of low income households in China.

Methods: About 3400 urban and rural households from 36 townships/districts in southwest China were interviewed in 2002. Cross tabulations and regression analysis were used to examine the differences in major household expenditures, including food, housing, clothing, and education between households with smokers and without smokers.

Results: Lower income households with smokers paid less per pack and smoked fewer cigarettes than higher income households with smokers. Poor urban households spent an average of 6.6% of their total expenditures on cigarettes; poor rural households spent 11.3% of their total expenditures on cigarettes.

Conclusion: Reducing cigarette expenditures could release household resources to spend on food, housing, and other goods that improve living standards.


  • Competing interests: none declared

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