Announcing the crackdown, Xu Guihua, vice president of the China Tobacco Control Association, said the ban would cover all forms of tobacco promotion including sponsorships for sporting events.

 

A ban on tobacco advertising has been in place since 1996, but firms have managed to sidestep the rules, promoting their brands and logos but without mentioning "cigarettes".

 

Xu said those forms of promotion would also be banned.

 

China's appetite for tobacco has grown
with its booming economy [EPA]
Despite the massive health impact that smoking causes in China, the government is also dependent on the trade for a large portion of its tax income.

 

In 2005, according to the state-run China Daily, the government earned approximately $31.7bn in tax revenue from tobacco sales.

 

In its report on the advertising ban, the newspaper quoted a government medical researcher as saying that currently 12 per cent of all deaths in China are caused by tobacco related illnesses.

 

Yang Yan of the Chinese Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said that By 2025, the researcher said, that figure will climb to 33 per cent.

 

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control requires signatories to ban tobacco promotions within five years of joining.

 

According to the convention tobacco products must also be obliged to carry prominent health warnings on their packaging.