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China at the crossroads: the economics of tobacco and health
  1. T-W Hu1,
  2. Z Mao2,
  3. M Ong3,
  4. E Tong4,
  5. M Tao5,
  6. H Jiang2,
  7. K Hammond1,
  8. K R Smith1,
  9. J de Beyer6,
  10. A Yurekli7
  1. 1University of California, Berkeley, California, USA
  2. 2Sichuan University, Chengdu, China
  3. 3University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA
  4. 4University of California, San Francisco, California, USA
  5. 5Fudan University, Shanghai, China
  6. 6World Bank, Washington, DC, USA
  7. 7World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor Teh-wei Hu
 School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA; thu{at}


Objective: To analyse economic aspects of tobacco control policy issues in China.

Methods: Published and collected survey data were used to analyse economic consequences of smoking. Economic analysis was used to address the role of tobacco farmers and the cigarette industry in the Chinese economy.

Results: In the agricultural sector, tobacco has the lowest economic rate of return of all cash crops. At the same time, the tobacco industry’s tax contribution to the central government has been declining.

Conclusion: Economic gains become less important as the negative health impact of smoking on the population garners more awareness. China stands at a crossroads to implement the economic promises of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and promote the health of its population.

  • CNTC, China National Tobacco Company
  • FCTC, Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
  • STMA, State Tobacco Monopoly Administration
  • WTO, World Trade Organization
  • economics
  • tobacco control
  • China

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  • Competing interests: none declared