In what would be the largest smoking ban to date, China is considering a nationwide smoking ban, something that could be implemented within a year. Yang Jie, deputy director of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office of Tobacco Control, told The Guardian the issue is likely not with the actual passing of law, but the enforcement.
The Guardian’s report indicated that the Chinese government’s attitude on smoking was quickly changing, including a release from the state-run Xinhua news service that indicated, “China’s anti-smoking efforts in the past decade have failed to limit the explosive growth.”
China is unique in almost every way to any county in the world when it comes to smoking. The country is believed to be responsible for half of the world’s cigarettes and home to 300 million consumers. China’s air is noted for its extreme pollution, largely due to industry and lack of environmental regulation, but the country has chosen to limit consumers in order to help alleviate the air quality issues without directly affecting manufacturing, including the limiting of vehicle usage. It also has arguably the least stigma when it comes to cigarettes of any country in the world.
As far as cigars, the country is seen as a gigantic emerging market. While few U.S. companies have made it into China with any noticeable presence, both Davidoff and Habanos S.A. are in the market and see it as incredibly vital. Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, the CEO of Oettinger Davidoff AG, has said he believes China will be the third largest cigar market by the end of 2014.
Companies like Great Wall Cigar Factory—part of China Tobacco Chuanyu Industrial Corporation—and China Tobacco Shandong International have made their presence known at both the IPCPR trade show and convention and Inter-tabac. Both are part of the expanding Chinese tobacco industry, which allegedly paid over $140 billion in taxes to the Chinese government in 2012.