New Report

Mainland China is of primary importance to the ITC project because within it inhabits approximately 30% of all the world’s smokers.  There are an estimated 350 million smokers in mainland China, which include 46% of all men and only 2% of all women being daily smokers.  The numbers are even more staggering when occasional smokers are included, with over 60% of men in mainland China being smokers.  Mainland China has ratified the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and has strong potential for measurable change due to upcoming tobacco control policies.  Mainland China signed the FCTC on November 10, 2003.  The treaty was ratified two years later on October 11, 2005.
Country Profile: 
Capital City Beijing
Population (2007 estimate) 1, 321,851,888
Life expectancy (2007 estimate) Men: 71.13 years, Women: 64.82 years
Ethnic groups Han Chinese 91.9%, Other (Zhuang, Uygus, Hui, Yi, Tibetan, Miao, Manchu, Mongol, Buyi, Korean, Other) 8.1%
Religions Daoist (Taoist)/Buddhist/Christian 3%-4%, Muslim 1%-2% Note: officially atheist (2002)
Languages Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Ziang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority language (see Ethnic Groups)
GDP per capita (2006 estimate) $7,800
Median age 33.2 years
Literacy 90.9%
 Background Information:
For centuries, mainland China stood as a leading civilization, outpacing the rest of the world in the arts and sciences, but in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the country was beset by civil unrest, major famines, military defeats, and foreign occupation.  After World War II, the Communists under MAO Zedong established an autocratic socialist system that, while ensuring mainland China’s sovereignty, imposed strict controls over everyday life and cost the lives of tens of millions of people.  After 1978, his successor DENG Xiaoping and other leaders focused on market-oriented economic development and by 2000 output had quadrupled.  For much of the population, living standards have improved dramatically and the room for personal choice has expanded, yet political controls remain tight.
Administrative Divisions:
23 provinces (sheng, singular and plural), 5 autonomous regions (zizhiqu, singular and plural) and 4 municipalities (shi, singular and plural)
Provinces: Anhui, Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guizhou, Haian, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Liaoning, Quainghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Zhejiang
Autonomous Regions: Guangxi, Nei Mongol, Ningzia, Xinjiang Uygur, Xizang (Tibet)
Municipalities: Beijing, Chongquig, Shanghia, Tianjin
Note: China Considers Taiwain its 23rd province
Economy Overview:
Mainland China’s economy during the last quarter century has changed from a centrally planned system that was largely closed to international trade to a more market-oriented economy that has a rapidly growing private sector and is a major player in the global economy.  Reforms started in the late 1970s with the phasing out of collectivized agriculture, and expanded to include the gradual liberalization of prices, fiscal decentralization, increased autonomy for state enterprises, the foundation of a diversified banking system, the development of stock markets, the rapid growth of the non-state sector, and the opening to foreign trade and incestment.  Mainland China has generally implemented reforms in a gradualist or piecemeal fashion, including the sale of equity in mainland China’s largest state banks to foreign investos and reginements in foreign exchange and bond markets in 2005.  The restructuring of the economy and resulting efficiency gains have contributed to a more than tenfold increase in GDP since 1978.  Measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis, mainland China in 2006 stood as the second-largest eonomy in the world after the US, although in per capita terms the country is still lower middle-income and 130 million Chinese fall below international poverty lines.  Economic development has geernally been more rapid in coastal regions.  The government has struggled to: (a) sustain adequate job growth for tens of millions of workers laid off from state-owned enterprises, migrants, and new entrants to the work force; (b) reduce corruption and other economic crimes; and (c) contain environmental damage and social strige related to the economy’s rapid transformation.  From 100 million to 150 million surplus rural workers are adrift between the villages and the cities, many subsisting through part-time, low-paying jobs.  One demographic consequence of the “one-child” policy is that mainland China is now one of the most rapidly aging countries in the world.  Another long-term threat to growth is the deterioration in the environment – notably air pollution, soil erosion, and the steady fall of the water table, especially in the north.  Mainland China continues to lose arable land because of erosion and economic development.  Mainland China has benefited from a huge expansion in computer Internet use, with more than 100 million users at the end of 2005.  Foreign investment remains a strong element in mainland China’s remarkable exchange rate system that references a basket of currencies.  In 2006, mainland China had the lartest current account surplus in the world – nearly $180 billion.  More power generating capacity came on line in 2006 as large scale investments were completed.  Thirteen years in construction at a costs of $24 billion, the immense Three Gorges Dam across the Yangtze River was essentially completed in 2006 and will revolutionize electrification and flood control in the area.  The 11th Five-Year Program (2006-10), approved by the National People’s Congree in Marh 2006, calls for a 20% reduction in energy consumption per unit of GDP by 2010 and an estimated 45% increase in GDP by 2010.  The plan states that conserving resources and protecting the environment are basic goals, but it lacks details on the policies and reforms necessary to achieve these goals.
Smoking Prevalence and Associated Costs:
  • It is estimated there are 360 million smokers in China (a third of the world’s smoking population) with a smoking prevalence of 31% among the general population
  • Out of Chinese over 15 years old, 60% of all men and 4% of all women smoke
  • An estimated 60 million Chinese die each year from smoking-related diseases, one of every eight deaths among Chinese men
  • By 2050, if the current trends continue, the figure is expected to jump to one-in-three male deaths
  • In 2005, mainland China incurred a loss of 250 billion yuan ($32.5 billion US) from smoking; 166.56 billion yuan was paid for medical treatment to 23 major diseases caused by smoking
  • An estimated 50% of Chinese doctors are smokers according to a 2004 survey by the China Centre of Disease Control and Prevention
ITC Researchers:
Jiang, Yuan
Yang, Yan
Feng, Guoze
Li, Qiang
China Contact Information
Anne Quah, Project Manager. Email:
Jiang Yuan, Principal Investigator. Email:
ITC Affiliated Institutions:
Sources: CIA World Factbook, Xinhua News Agency, World Health Organization, China Centre of Disease Control and Prevention

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