Country Details For
Eastern Mediterranean Region
South-East Asian Region
Western Pacific Region
China became a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on October 11, 2005.
Smoke Free Places: Legislation bans smoking in specific places. The Tobacco Monopoly Law requires that smoking be prohibited or restricted in public places and public transportation in general, and the Ministry of Health Implementation Rules on the Regulations on Public Places Sanitation Administration prohibit smoking in the 28 indoor public places listed in the State Council Regulations. These places include restaurants, bars, and pubs. In addition, the Ministry of Health has issued a decision requiring all medical facilities to be smoke free. It is our understanding that the Ministry of Health is implementing and enforcing this decision. Smoking rooms or areas are permitted in some forms of long-distance transport. Sub-national jurisdictions have the authority to implement local smoke free policies.
Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship: A national law bans tobacco advertising on film, television, radio, and in newspapers and magazines. Local jurisdictions have the authority to regulate outdoor tobacco advertising and some have banned it. Tobacco companies can advertise their products at point of sale, through sponsored events and branded schools, on billboards, online, and through extensive advertising of affiliated companies with the same names as tobacco brands.
Tobacco Packaging and Labeling: Warning labels are text-only, use small six point type, feature the same background color as the rest of the pack, and do not spell out specific health harms of smoking. They cover 30 percent of the pack, in Chinese on the front and English on the back. Tobacco companies are allowed to design their own labels as long as they meet the minimum requirements set by the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration. Misleading terms (e.g., "light", "low") are prohibited on packaging and labeling, but misleading figurative or other signs (e.g., colors, numbers) are not prohibited. It is uncertain whether warning labels are required to appear on smokeless tobacco products.
Roadmap to Tobacco Control Legislation: In China, the National People’s Congress, the highest state body, has not passed a comprehensive tobacco control law. Instead, there are several relevant laws and regulations that address tobacco use in China. In 1991, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress passed the Law of People’s Republic of China on Tobacco Monopoly (Tobacco Monopoly Law) for the purposes of managing the manufacture and business of tobacco products, increasing the quality of tobacco products, protecting consumers’ interests, and ensuring state revenue. The law is concerned primarily with exercising monopoly control over tobacco commodities and operating a monopoly license system, although it also includes provisions regarding the display of tar yields and general health warnings on tobacco packaging. Further, the Tobacco Monopoly Law bans certain types of advertising of tobacco products (radio, TV and newspaper or periodicals). The State Council, the chief administrative authority, issued Regulations for the Implementation of the Tobacco Monopoly Law in 1997, elaborating upon matters addressed in the law.
The Advertising Law of the People’s Republic on China (Advertising Law), promulgated in 1994, supplemented tobacco advertising requirements by adding moving pictures and magazines to the types of media in which tobacco advertising is banned. The State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) issued the Criteria on Censoring Advertisements in 1994, establishing the standards and procedures through which permissible tobacco advertising may be approved. In 1996, the SAIC issued the Interim Rules on Tobacco Advertising Management in order to further implement the Advertising Law. In addition, SAIC publicly released a series of replies it issued in response to inquiries about tobacco advertising.
Several laws and regulations set forth China’s smoke free policies. These laws and regulations were issued by a variety of agencies and place restrictions on smoking in a broad range of public places. Such promulgations include: (1) Ministry of Health Rules on the Implementation of Public Places Sanitation Administration Regulations; (2) Law on the Protection of Minors (prohibiting smoking in places where minors gather, such as schools, dormitories, etc.); (3) Rules on the Prohibition of Smoking in Public Transport and Waiting Rooms (issued jointly by six agencies); (4) Civil Aviation Administration Rules on the Prohibition of Smoking in Civil Airports and Civil Aircraft; and (5) State Council Regulations on the Administration of Business Premises for Internet Access Services (banning smoking in internet cafes and public computer lounges).
General packaging and labeling requirements are set forth in the Tobacco Monopoly Law (1991) and its accompanying implementing regulations (1997). More specific requirements, the Rules on Cigarette Package Labeling in the Territories of the People’s Republic of China, were issued in 2007 by the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine. The following year, the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration issued its Notice on Interpretation of Relevant Articles in the Rules on Cigarette Package Labeling in the Territories of People’s Republic of China and on Review and Approval Requirements. In addition to elaborating on matters such as text, size, colors, etc., the Notice prohibited the use of misleading terms such as “mild” and “low tar content” on tobacco packaging. In 2011, the China National Tobacco Corporation published a Notice on Further Strengthening the Degree of Cigarette Package Warning Labeling requiring its subordinate companies to amend their warning labels.
This country’s legal measures were collaboratively reviewed by an in-country lawyer and our legal staff.
Policy Fact Sheets
Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship
Packaging and Labeling