Sales of high-priced cigarettes are expected to be hardest hit by the enforcement of a ban on China’s government officials smoking in public and giving and receiving cigarettes as gifts.
According to a story by Yang Jing for the Global Times, the General Office of the Communist Party of China’s Central Committee and the State Council, the country’s cabinet, jointly released a notice on Sunday demanding that Chinese officials take the lead in obeying smoking regulations.
The notice, which appeared on the website of the State Council, reiterated that a smoking ban was in force in certain public places. It said that officials were prohibited from smoking in public, including in schools, hospitals, sports venues, and public vehicles.
Officials were banned also from offering cigarettes to others at work and from buying cigarettes with public funds.
Smoking, the notice said, affected the environment, people’s health and the image of the Party and the government.
Since the end of 2012, the central government has been running a campaign aimed at stamping out extravagance and the waste of public funds.
The cigarette industry has been impacted because cigarettes are a popular gift in China, and the enforcement of the bans might explain in part why, during the first 10 months of this year, China’s cigarette inventory was 7.2 per cent higher than it was during the same period of the previous year.
Overall, the ban on cigarettes is expected to deliver a hard blow to the industry, but this will mainly affect high-priced cigarettes.
This year’s total cigarette sales are almost the same as those of 2012, but sales of high-priced cigarettes, which usually cost above Yuan500 ($82.50) a carton, dropped dramatically this year, according to the owner of a tobacco store in Beijing.