China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of tobacco and has the highest burden of tobacco-related disease. More than 300 million Chinese smoke, and more than twice that number—including 180 million children—are exposed to secondhand smoke. As a result, 1.4 million Chinese die each year from tobacco-related causes, including lung disease, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
China is a signatory of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the world’s first and only global public health treaty. The FCTC compels its 180 signatory countries to meet minimum standards in tobacco control provisions, including tobacco taxes that raise cigarette prices for consumers, bans on tobacco advertising, graphic health warning labels and plain cigarette packaging, and indoor smoking bans. These measures have proven successful in reducing tobacco use in higher-income countries and could bring vast benefits in terms of improved health and lives saved in China. In particular, tobacco taxes that raise the price of cigarettes could make a dramatic difference—they offer the most effective way to reduce tobacco use, particularly among youth, and they can provide a significant source of domestic revenue to help fund a range of public health and development efforts.
China’s leadership has put tobacco control on the national agenda, and more progress on FCTC compliance in China is expected over the next decade.
We support strategic partners in China in advocating for proven policies in line with the FCTC. These partners work with a network of sub-grantees to produce policy research, build tobacco control capacity, and create advocacy campaigns in support of tobacco control measures. We also support social marketing campaigns that aim to educate people and change attitudes about tobacco use and make it socially unacceptable and unappealing.