Cigarette sales decline in China

| May 10, 2016

The number of cigarettes sold in China fell 3.3 percent in the year to March 2016 from the previous year, according to the World Health Organization.

Sales of the cheapest cigarettes fell 5.5 percent over the period, the WHO added, signaling that the tax prompted poor smokers, in particular, to cut back on cigarette purchases.

Last year, China hiked its wholesale tax rate on cigarettes to 11 percent from 5 percent, an increase the WHO said earned revenue of about RMB70 billion ($11 billion) for the central government in 2015.

Retail cigarette prices rose about 10 percent on average, with the cheapest brands becoming as much as a fifth more costly, a WHO analysis found.

China has approximately 300 million smokers, state media have said.

The state-owned tobacco monopoly contributes an estimated 7 percent to 10 percent of government tax revenue.

Category: Breaking News

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