Link of the week
Tobacco giant buys stake in medical cannabis
One of the UK’s biggest tobacco manufacturers is seeking to diversify from the under-pressure cigarette market by taking a stake in a start-up researching medical uses of cannabis.
Imperial Brands, the FTSE 100 company behind Winston and Gauloises cigarettes, is investing in Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies (OCT). It is thought to be the first time that a Big Tobacco company has invested in cannabis research in the UK.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health, said: “Imperial talks of there being ‘significant potential’ in cannabinoid products but they’re not a pharmaceutical company, they’re a recreational drug company. This is all about developing the expertise they need to market cannabis not as a medicine, but as a recreational drug. It’s a bad move for a start-up like OCT to besmirch its reputation by taking money from an industry responsible for killing more than seven million people a year. And it bucks the trend. Major investors all round the world, from banks and pension funds, to insurers and sovereign wealth funds, are all getting out of tobacco.”
See also: BBC, ‘Tobacco giant Imperial Brands invests in medical cannabis’
Source: The Times, 29 June 2018
North West: Burnley women urged to stop smoking
Burnley has the second highest rate of women smokers in the country. In Burnley 25.5% of women are smokers, second only to Hastings in East Sussex, with fellow Lancashire area South Ribble having the least amount of women smokers at just 4%.
Lancashire County Council has commissioned a ‘Quit Squad’ which encourages people to stop smoking, and includes support for pregnant women to quit in partnership with midwifes, health visitors and children’s centres.
Shaun Turner, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We know how difficult it is to stop smoking, but we’re here to help. Current figures show that 16% of Lancashire’s population smokes, which is just above the national average. Rates in the county are falling. However, we are aware of tobacco use hotspots such as Burnley and our targeted work with communities will help us address them. Our aim is to cut smoking rates in Lancashire to 12% or less by 2022.”
Source: Burnley Express, 28 June 2018
The protocol to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products is live
On the 27 June 2018, the conditions for the entry into force of the first legally binding instrument adopted under the WHO FCTC were met. The ratification of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, meant the necessary number of Parties to the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products was reached, paving the way to eliminate illicit trade of tobacco products.
This achievement is a milestone in the history of tobacco control, as the Protocol contains a full range of measures to combat illicit trade distributed in three categories: preventing illicit trade, promoting law enforcement and providing the legal basis for international cooperation. Moreover, it aims to secure the supply chain of tobacco products, through licensing, due diligence and record keeping, and requires the establishment of a global tracking and tracing regime that will allow Governments to effectively follow up tobacco products from the point of production to the first point of sale.
The Parties can now hold the First session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol (MOP1) in Geneva, Switzerland, from the 8th to the 10th of October 2018, following the Eighth Conference of the Parties (COP8) of the WHO FCTC.
Source: FCTC, 28 June 2018
Australia: WTO backs plain cigarette packets
Australia has won a major trade dispute over its pioneering plain packaging for cigarettes, in a decision handed down by the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Australia made it mandatory in 2011 for cigarettes to be sold in plain packets that carry health warnings. Seven years on, the WTO has rejected complaints from four nations that the laws violate international trade. Unless there is a successful appeal, the decision is expected to hasten similar regulations around the world.
“Australia has achieved a resounding victory,” its government said in a statement on Friday. Cuba, Honduras, Dominican Republic and Indonesia – all tobacco producers – had argued that plain packaging infringed on trademarks and intellectual property rights. But the WTO rejected those arguments and assertions that alternative measures could achieve an equivalent benefit to public health.
Financial Times, Australia wins landmark WTO ruling over cigarette packaging
The Guardian, ‘Resounding victory’: Australia wins tobacco plain packaging dispute
Daily Mail Online, ‘Australia wins landmark WTO ruling on plain tobacco packaging’
Source: BBC News, 29 June 2018
China: Low funding cited as top reason for lackluster smoking control
Lack of funding has become a major obstacle to the enforcement of tobacco control regulations, according to a new report based on feedback from the governments of 18 major cities on the Chinese mainland. Wang Zhenyu, the head of the law firm that carried out the study, said “We found that lack of government funding is the biggest difficulty in tobacco control for many cities, and the problem has not improved over the past few years.”
Of the 18 cities, nine disclosed the amount of money allocated for tobacco control for 2016. Beijing was top, with total funding of about 4.8 million yuan ($724,000), followed by Guangzhou, Guangdong province, at 4.6 million yuan. Funding on all the other seven cities was below 500,000 yuan.
However, Jiang Yuan, director of the tobacco control office of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said that although Beijing has placed more emphasis on tobacco control than most other cities in China, but the funding level is still far from adequate. She said, “Per capita funding is far below many other countries and regions, such as Hong Kong.”
Source: China Daily, 29 June 2018
China: Paternal smoking linked to miscarriage risk
Would-be fathers may increase their partner’s risk of miscarriage by smoking during the pregnancy, or even during the time leading up to conception, a large study from China suggests.
Based on data for nearly 6 million pregnancies, researchers found that women whose partner smoked during the first few months of the pregnancy were 17% more likely to miscarry than women with nonsmoking partners. Women whose partners quit smoking around the time of conception had an 18% lower risk of miscarriage than those whose smoking partner didn’t quit, the study team reports in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.
“Although we have known for a long time that if the mother smokes there is an increased risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes, dads who smoke also influence the ‘success’ of the pregnancy,” Dr. Alison Holloway, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
Source: Reuters, 27 June 2018
Japan: Smoke exposure during pregnancy and infancy tied to hearing loss
Kids exposed to tobacco smoke in the womb and early in infancy could have double the odds of developing hearing loss compared with children who were not exposed to tobacco at all, a Japanese study suggests.
Researchers examined data on 50,734 children born between 2004 and 2010 in Kobe City, Japan. Overall, about 4% of these kids were exposed to smoking during pregnancy or infancy, and roughly 1% had tobacco exposure during both periods.
Hearing tests done when kids were 3 years old found that 4.6% of the children had hearing loss. They were 68% more likely to have hearing loss if they were exposed to tobacco during pregnancy, and 30% more likely if they inhaled second-hand smoke during infancy, the study found. When kids had smoke exposure during both periods, they were 2.4 times more likely than unexposed kids to have hearing loss.
Source: Reuters, 28 June 2018
US: Opinion: 12-year-olds can’t buy cigarettes. Why can they work in tobacco fields?
In the US, a 12-year-old cannot legally walk into a store and buy cigarettes, but the law allows that same child to work in a tobacco field. A 16-year-old child tobacco worker told Human Rights Watch that tobacco was “the hardest of all the crops we’ve worked in. You get tired. It takes the energy out of you. You get sick, but then you have to go right back to the tobacco the next day.”
When the seminal legislation the Fair Labor Standards Act was passed in 1938, it exempted agriculture from its extensive labor protections, including child labor. In 2011-12, the Obama administration attempted to ban teen work in tobacco, but farm groups claimed this would “kill the family farm” and the Obama administration promised to never implement them again during Obama’s tenure. Now, the Trump administration is working to remove hazardous work restrictions for students and apprentices that would allow minors to use chainsaws, meat slicers, compactors and other dangerous machinery for longer hours than currently allowed.
We call on the tobacco industry to raise the minimum age of work on tobacco farms to 18 in the US and around the world immediately. It’s bad enough that the tobacco industry is willing to kill its customers with a dangerous product; it really should move to protect the workers who produce that product.
See also: Guardian, ‘The US children working in tobacco fields’
Source: Guardian, 29 June 2018
Link of the week
Cigarettes and Chimneys
In a short 15 minute programme, Radio 4 tells the story of how Richard Doll’s research in the 1950s identified that smoking caused lung cancer and how the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) had to weigh in to ensure that government took the evidence seriously.
When lung cancer, a new deadly disease, began to grip the nation, the NHS was focused on treatment, not prevention. Lung cancer was a disease that doctors couldn’t treat. The suggestion that something you could prevent – cigarette smoking – might be causing it, led to a radically new way of thinking about the role of the health service.
The RCP has been in the forefront of promoting this change in perspective since its seminal 1962 report Smoking and Health, and it continues to promote the role of prevention in the NHS today with its latest report Hiding in plain sight.
Many other RCP reports are also available for free to download on the RCP website.
Source: BBC Radio 4, 25 June 2018
Belfast: Vaping ban in the grounds of hospitals
The Western Health and Social Care Trust has strengthened its strict no smoking policy to include no vaping on its hospital grounds. Staff are being warned that they may face disciplinary action if they fail to stick to the rules. Staff have been directed to ask carers and service users who smoke, to refrain from doing so an hour before any scheduled visit and while they are there.
Source: Belfast Telegraph, 27 June 2018
WTO to rule on landmark tobacco case later today (Thursday 28th June)
A World Trade Organization adjudication panel will rule today on a dispute over Australia’s tough tobacco packaging rules, widely seen as a test case for public health legislation globally.
The WTO said the ruling in the case, brought against Australia by Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Indonesia, would be published at around 1500 GMT. The ruling is expected to be appealed, the WTO’s chief judge has said.
Source: Reuters, 28 June 2018
Tokyo passes tough anti-smoking law ahead of 2020 Olympics
Tokyo, Japan’s capital and host of the 2020 Summer Olympics, passed a tough anti-smoking law on Wednesday that will effectively ban smoking in most of the city’s bars and restaurants in the run-up to the games. Japan lags behind many countries in efforts to fight smoking, with attempts to tackle tobacco often stymied by pro-smoking politicians, restaurateurs and Japan Tobacco, which is one-third owned by the government.
The new city law, which takes full effect several months before the Olympics open on July 24, 2020, bans smoking in any bar or restaurant with hired employees.
Source: Reuters, 27 June 2018
China: Court verdict paves way for smokefree railways
A provincial court ruled on Tuesday that the Harbin Railway Bureau (of Northeast China’s Heilongjiang province) should remove smoking zones and ashtrays in its trains and stations. In June last year, a college student sued the Harbin Railway Bureau because of the secondhand smoke she was forced to inhale on a train. The student claimed compensation of 102.5 yuan ($15.54), the price of her ticket, plus 1 yuan for mental distress, and sought the removal of all the smoking zones and ashtrays in the bureau’s railway stations and trains.
Legal Daily comments: “The judgment is meaningful as it is the first time that a railway department has been instructed by a court to ban smoking in its stations and on the trains it operates, which is directly related to the health and safety of hundreds of millions of passengers.”
According to the Railway Safety Administration Regulation that came into effect on Jan 1, 2014, smoking is strictly banned on high-speed trains and in the carriages of other trains. However, it is permitted in the connecting areas between carriages of non high-speed trains, where ashtrays are often installed. The smoke from these areas often drifts into the carriages, making all passengers exposed to secondhand smoke.
Source: China Daily, 28 June 2018
Hong Kong study: Breastfeeding mothers stop nursing sooner when living with smokers
Nursing mothers who live with two or more smokers are more likely to stop breastfeeding sooner than those who live in non-smoking households. In a Hong Kong-based study, researchers discovered that these mothers are at 30% higher risk for ending breastfeeding before a year.
The study examined a cohort of 1,277 mother and baby pairs from four major hospitals in Hong Kong. Researchers used self-reported questionnaires to collect demographic data, parental smoking habits, and other variable data.
Source: Bright Surf, 27 June 2018
See also: Breastfeeding Medicine, The Effects of Secondary Cigarette Smoke from Household Members on Breastfeeding Duration: A Prospective Cohort Study
Opinion: Why don’t more young women vape?
Sophie Jarvis from the Adam Smith Institute comments on vaping trends
When it comes to tackling the harms of smoking we still seem to stick to an abstinence-only approach. It should be made easier for adults to switch to safer (but not risk-free) alternatives.
Public Health England have to their credit highlighted the relative benefits of vaping by pointing out that it’s at least 95% safer than smoking. In other words, it would take 20 non-smokers to take up vaping to outweigh the good of one smoker switching the other way.
British vaping laws aren’t that Victorian, but there’s room for improvement. While we allow vape shops and vaping in public places, e-cigarette manufacturers face stiff regulation and are prevented from talking about the relative risks of vaping compared with smoking.
The EU’s Tobacco Products Directive limits tank sizes, regulates nicotine content, and restricts the ability for e-cigarette sellers to market their products effectively. We know from other countries that heavy-handed e-cigarette laws don’t help smokers: in Australia, where e-cigarettes are banned, smokers as a proportion of the population dropped by just 0.6% between 2013-2016. By contrast, the UK’s relatively liberal approach to vaping lead to smoking rates falling by 2.9%. Japan also banned e-cigarettes, but they allow heat-not-burn products which has resulted in a significant decline in cigarette sales.
Source: Spectator, 25 June 2018
Note: The Adam Smith Institute has received money from the tobacco industry in the past
Scotland: Smokers outside Larbert hospital to be fined
Larbet hospital in Falkirk will soon be fining those who smoke too near the hospital premises. The Scottish Government aims to make it an offence to smoke within 15 metres of hospitals, as part of a tobacco control action plan which includes 44 specific actions.
The NHS in Scotland has spent years trying to persuade smokers not to smoke in hospital grounds, and now intends to tackle the issue by bringing in new legislation.
However no final decision has been made on whether vaping should continue to be allowed around NHS facilities – the Scottish Government aims to work with health boards and integration boards to “try and reach a consensus” on the issue.
The move is part of tobacco control action plan aimed at addressing health inequalities and cutting smoking rates, particularly in deprived areas.
Source: Falkirk Herald, 22 June 2018
USA: Study finds large increase in number of college campuses going smokefree
Smoking continues to fall out of favour at colleges and universities across America, a new study has found. As of November 2017, over 2,000 U.S. college campuses were smokefree or tobacco-free (no smokeless tobacco use or smoking), compared with only 774 campuses in 2012, the report found.
In 2017, 84% of smokefree campuses were tobacco-free, compared with 73% of smokefree campuses in 2012, according to the study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation.
“Colleges and universities are ideal places to promote healthy behaviours that can continue for a lifetime, including being tobacco-free,” Corinne Graffunder, director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, said in an agency news release.
Source: Health Day, 22 June 2018
See also: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Smoke-Free and Tobacco-Free Policies in Colleges and Universities – United States and Territories, 2017 (page 10 of PDF download)
Signs that Philip Morris’s iQOS heat-not-burn product might not be a big hit
Philip Morris International’s (PMI) lacklustre first-quarter earnings report has weighed heavily on the tobacco industry, after the company experienced a dramatic drop off in sales of its next-generation heat-not-burn tobacco devices in Japan. Their concern is that the device won’t be able to offset the secular decline in traditional cigarette sales.
The rollout of the iQOS heat-not-burn device marked a significant change in how Philip Morris presented itself to the public and investors. The future, Philip Morris said, was going to be smokefree, and the company took out full-page ads in newspapers calling on smokers to quit and switch to alternative products.
Japan was a seminal point for iQOS, and after rolling it out nationwide, it captured 80% of the heat-not-burn market in the country. However, PMI’s earnings report indicated it has burned through all of the early adopters of the new technology and now faced the prospect of convincing older, more conservative smokers to switch, a more difficult and costly task. It has since cut the cost of iQOS devices to try and boost sales.
Source: Yahoo Finance, 22 June 2018
China: On-screen smoking scenes in Chinese media declining
The number of scenes depicting tobacco smoking in Chinese movies and TV series have declined overall in the last decade, according to the Chinese Association on Tobacco Control. However the figures for 2017 were worse than in 2016, according to the public health charity.
This is the 10th consecutive year the association has surveyed Chinese movies and television shows. Twenty of the top thirty movie blockbusters had at least one smoking scene last year, down 23% from 2007. The declining trend in TV series was even more apparent; 17 of the 30 most-watched shows had smoking scenes in 2017, down by 37% from 10 years ago.
Under regulations issued in 2009 and 2011 by the former State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, smoking scenes are “strictly controlled” rather than banned.
Source: China Daily, 25 June 2018
Opinion: Inconsistent regulators risk stifling UK vaping industry
Gillian Golden, chief executive of the Independent British Vape Trade Association, discusses the impact of regulation on the UK vaping industry
Independent vaping companies, free from ownership or control by the tobacco or pharmaceutical industries, make up 90% of what is one of the fastest growing industries in Britain. UK vaping businesses are known globally for their innovation and product stewardship, and locally, independent vape shops are one of the few areas of positive growth on British high streets.
On average, members of the Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) have seen a 24% reduction in business since the regulations were fully implemented in May 2017, forcing some businesses to close. While we are not happy with the current set of restrictions placed on the UK’s vape industry, the IBVTA is not anti-regulation, and has worked proactively to ensure that members comply with the relevant regulations. However, the lax attitudes from some enforcement bodies has meant that non-compliance, particularly online, has given a competitive advantage to manufacturers and sellers which aren’t following the most recent legislation.
Our report, “The State of Compliance – One year on from the TRPR”, which launched in parliament this week, should serve as a wake-up call. We must review the inclusion of vaping in the TRPR at the earliest possible opportunity, and introduce proportionate, risk-based, vape-specific legislation which allows as many smokers as possible switch away from smoking.
Source: City AM, 7 June
See also: IBVTA: The State of Compliance
Opinion: The impact of NICE on cardiovascular disease prevention
Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director Health and Social Care at NICE, looks into what can be done to decrease cardiovascular disease nationally and how to prevent missed opportunities in the future.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) accounts for just over a quarter of deaths and affects around 7 million people in the UK. Risk factors for CVD include smoking, obesity, mental illness, physical inactivity, and long-term factors like diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. These can all be addressed with the right care and support.
For example, data from the Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF) shows smoking levels in 2016 fell to 15.5% of the adult population. To encourage this, we recommend offering patients in hospitals, mental health, and maternity services advice on quitting. But despite an audit of 15,000 patients finding that of the 73% that had their smoking status recorded, only 28% were asked if they would like to quit. This suggests key opportunities are being missed to further tackle smoking rates.
Source: National Health Executive, 6 June 2018
Japanese study: Children who were exposed to cigarettes in the womb and as babies are more than twice as likely to be deaf
A study conducted by Kyoto University has found that exposure to cigarette smoke in pregnancy and as newborns raises the risk of hearing problems by 2.4 times. Three-year-olds exposed within the first four months of life are 30% more at risk of deafness and children are 26% more at risk if their mothers smoked during their pregnancies.
Study author Dr Koji Kawakami, Kyoto University, said: “Although public health guidelines already discourage smoking during pregnancy and in front of children, some women still smoke during pregnancy and many young children are exposed to second-hand smoke.
This study clearly shows that preventing exposure to tobacco smoke during pregnancy and postnatally may reduce the risk of hearing problems in children.”
Source: Daily Mail, 6 June 2018
San Francisco approves ban on menthol cigarettes and flavoured e-cigarette liquids
San Francisco residents have overwhelmingly voted to uphold a ban on all flavoured tobacco, alongside flavoured e-cigarette liquids.
The city’s supervisors approved the measure last summer, but tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds and a coalition of businesses and industry associations challenged it. Nearly 70% of voters supported the ban, according to San Francisco’s election results.
Tuesday’s vote ends a campaign that pitted Big Tobacco against former New York mayor and billionaire philanthropist Michael Bloomberg and public health groups. R.J. Reynolds, the maker of best-selling menthol cigarette brand Newport, poured more than $11.6 million into the effort. Bloomberg donated $1.8 million of the $2.3 million raised by supporters of the ban.
Source: CNBC, 6 June 2018
China: Beijing’s smoking population drops by 200,000
The number of smokers in Beijing has dropped by about 200,000, three years after the city adopted its strictest tobacco control regulations, the municipal health authority said Wednesday.
The adult smoking rate in Beijing is now 22.3%, or 3.99 million smokers. This means there are 200,000 fewer smokers than in 2015, the city’s commission for health improvement said.
A total of 61 hospitals have opened smoking cessation clinics. The number of tobacco control volunteers has approached 15,000 citywide. Around 1,600 departments and over 7,300 individuals have been found to violate tobacco control regulations.
Source: Xinhua Net, 6 June 2018
North East: NHS staff make pledge on World No Tobacco Day
Senior staff at Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, a provider of mental health and disability services, have made a public commitment to reduce smoking rates among both their patients and staff.
NTW Chair, Ken Jarrold, Chief Executive, John Lawlor and Medical Director, Dr Rajesh Nadkarni have all signed the NHS smokefree pledge, which has been endorsed by NHS England, the Department of Health, the Royal College of Physicians and the British Medical Association.
John Lawlor, Chief Executive said: “The NHS Smokefree Pledge is a really positive step towards improving the health of people with serious mental health conditions who die on average 20 years earlier than the general population due to smoking. We will play our part by signing the pledge and continuing to reduce smoking rates across our organisation.”
Source: NE Connected, 4 June 2018
Suffolk: County Council invests in tobacco firm
Information published for Suffolk County Council’s pension fund committee shows that despite criticism for investing in tobacco stocks the Council has increased its tobacco portfolio.
New figures have revealed that the investment in British American Tobacco is worth £16.2m – 0.6% of the fund and the fourth largest sum behind Royal Dutch Shell, Microsoft and Ferguson.
Ipswich MP Sandy Martin has said that the public health team, central government and health services were all helping people to stop smoking, which made the council’s investment “ridiculous”.
Source: Coastal Scene, 4 June 2018
California: Social Smoking Campaign Urges ‘Smokers in Denial’ to Wake Up
Duncan Channon and the California Tobacco Control Program have launched a new anti-smoking campaign that targets social smokers age 21 to 35 who typically don’t view themselves as ‘smokers’ and therefore underestimate the harm of lighting up at parties and other social events.
The campaign evokes smokers’ distorted perception of their habit and its harm, along with statistics that reveal the true health consequences of occasional smoking and alternate forms of tobacco.
The campaign launches across the state with special focus on reaching LGBTQ, Hispanic, Asian and African-American communities that are at higher risk for social smoking.
Source: Media Post, 4 June 2018
See also: Never Just a Smoke
USA: Lung cancer risk ‘drops dramatically’ within five years of quitting smoking
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in the US have analysed the Framingham Heart Study, which looked at 8,907 people who had been followed for 25 to 34 years.
During this period, 284 lung cancers were diagnosed, nearly 93% of which occurred among heavy smokers – those who had smoked at least a pack of cigarettes a day for 21 years or more.
Five years after quitting, the risk of developing lung cancer in former heavy smokers dropped by 39% compared to current smokers, and continued to fall as time went on.
However, even 25 years after quitting, their lung cancer risk remained over threefold higher compared to people who had never smoked.
Author Hilary Tindle, professor of medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said: “The fact that lung cancer risk drops relatively quickly after quitting smoking, compared to continuing smoking, gives new motivation.”
Source: Health Insurance Daily, 4 June 2018
See also: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Lifetime smoking history and risk of lung cancer
Nigeria: Tax rise on tobacco and alcohol as fears grow of a public health crisis
A rise in excise duties has come into force in Nigeria, amid fears that growing tobacco and alcohol consumption could threaten a public health crisis. Although the number of women smoking has nearly halved over the past 18 years, the proportion of Nigerian men who have taken up the habit has increased to 17.4% from 11% in 2000. The rise has been attributed to less control on tobacco advertising and a growth in disposable income in the region, experts say.
The finance ministry has said it hopes the duties would have “a dual benefit of raising the government’s fiscal revenues and reducing the health hazards associated with tobacco-related diseases and alcoholic abuse.”
However, though the IMF proposed a doubling of tariffs, taxes on cigarettes will be raised by just four pence a year for the next three years, so campaigners have questioned how effective this will be.
Source: Telegraph, 4 June 2018
China: Tobacco regulator argues for indoor space for smokers
The regulator of China’s tobacco industry, which oversees state monopoly China National Tobacco Corp, has called for the introduction of designated indoor smoking areas, claiming enforcing bans in all public spaces was too difficult.
The former head of tobacco control at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Yang Gonghuan, has accused China Tobacco of attempting to thwart control measures by interfering in policy-making. Around 300 million of China’s 1.4 billion people smoke, and China Tobacco sells 98% of all tobacco consumed in China. It is easily the world’s largest tobacco producer by volume, with its sales totalling 1.1 trillion yuan ($171.81 billion) last year.
Source: Reuters, 4 June 2018