The measures would follow ratification of the United Nations Framework Convention on Tobacco Control by the National People’s Congress, China’s legislature, at its annual session early next year.
The global treaty aims to cut an annual 4.9 million smoking-related deaths worldwide by imposing curbs on the advertising, marketing and sale of cigarettes and tobacco products, of which China makes a significant portion.
According to official statistics, China’s sees more than 2,000 tobacco related deaths a day with the number of fatalities forecast to reach 8,000 per day by 2050.
In a nation of 350 million smokers, or one-quarter of the population, Chinese tobacco companies are likely to fight hard to keep a comprehensive ban on advertising off the legislative books.
The tobacco industry brings handsome profits to state coffers, generating nearly 20 billion dollars in annual revenues and tax, said an official with the China Tobacco Society.
The new legislation, which if passed in March would take effect 90 days later, would also impact major tobacco-sponsored events such as the Formula One Grand Prix which will be held in Shanghai next year.