If China wants to save .009 of its population by 2050, they need to implement UN tobacco control policies, including surveillance and monitoring of tobacco use prevalence, creation of smoke-free environments, treatment of tobacco dependence, tobacco consumption taxation and other price controls, enforcement of heath warnings on tobacco packages and marketing bans. 

If the Communist party in China wants to be overthrown immediately, they will do just that, because there are hundreds of millions of smokers there, and the Chinese government is the world's largest tobacco product manufacturer. The public will put up with banning cars for commoners, banning free speech, and whatever else, but they are going to create a special sort of Hell for anyone who takes away smoking for the 50 percent of the male population that does it.

Chinese culture has already created a lot of Hells, they don't need one more.

Officialy, China joined the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2003, but they sign most treaties on a somewhat volunteer basis. The only reason they might do it is if they can be convinced a few million deaths will cost more for health care.


And that becomes the trade-off; does smoker health care and an early death cost more than 13 million people living to a ripe old age and still needing a lot of health care? Reducing smoking rates by 40 percent sounds great to American academics but it may not sound great to party leaders. David T. Levy, PhD, a population scientist at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, and colleagues utilized a computer simulation program called SimSmoke to model tobacco smoking prevalence, smoking-attributable death and the impact of tobacco control policies between 2015 and 2050. The researchers analyzed data including China's adult population, current and former smoking prevalence, initiation and cessation rates and past policy levels.

Levy says that according to SimSmoke, raising taxes on tobacco products would have the greatest impact on reducing smoking rates.

"In 2009, China raised the tax on tobacco by almost 12 percent, but the increased cost was not passed along to consumers," Levy explains. "If China raised the taxes to 75 percent of the package price and increased the price commensurately, there would be a decrease in smoking of 10 percent within three years."

China has banned smoking on public transportation. The country has implemented weak tobacco dependence treatment programs and some advertising bansthat are weakly enforced, according to Levy. These policies do not meet the FCTC requirements, he says.

"Some of the WHO FCTC policies will cost money to implement, but taxation policies and strong health warnings in particular would be cost effective," Levy says.