LANGUAGE
Last updated: February 28th 2019

Regulated Forms of Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship

Domestic TV and radio (including all broadcast media such as satellite and cable)

Banned
The listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship is completely banned.
Analysis:

The laws and regulations prohibit advertising of tobacco products through broadcast and TV. Broadcast includes radio. Therefore, tobacco advertising is banned on domestic TV, radio, and other broadcast media.

The law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines with respect to domestic broadcast media.

Domestic newspapers and magazines

Banned
The listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship is completely banned.
Analysis:

The laws and regulations prohibit advertising of tobacco products in newspapers or periodicals.

The law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines with respect to newspapers and magazines.

Other domestic print media, such as pamphlets, leaflet, flyers, posters, signs (not including print advertising at the point of sale)

Banned
The listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship is completely banned.
Analysis:

The Advertising Law prohibits the publication of tobacco advertisements in mass media, public places, means of public transport, or outdoors. Therefore, advertising via domestic print media, such as pamphlets, leaflets, posters, and signs, is prohibited.

The law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines with respect to other domestic print media.

International TV and radio (including all broadcast media such as satellite and cable)

Banned
The listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship is completely banned.
Analysis:

The laws and regulations prohibit advertising of tobacco products through broadcast and TV. Broadcast includes radio. This is interpreted as applying to cross-border (international) TV, radio, and other broadcast media.

The law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines with respect to international broadcast media.

International newspapers and magazines

Banned
The listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship is completely banned.
Analysis:

The laws and regulations prohibit advertising of tobacco products in newspapers or periodicals. This is interpreted as covering cross-border (international) newspapers and magazines.

The law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines with respect to international newspapers and magazines.

Internet communications

Banned
The listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship is completely banned.

Internet communications (not sales)

Analysis:

The Advertising Law prohibits the publication of tobacco advertisements in mass media, and states that the law specifically applies to advertising activity using the internet. Therefore, tobacco advertising via internet communications is prohibited.

The law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines with respect to internet communications.

Internet tobacco product sales

Some Restrictions
There is not a complete ban on the listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship, but one or more limits on the form applies.
Analysis:

Under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s Rules on Tobacco Monopoly Licensing, citizens, legal entities, and other organizations are not allowed to sell tobacco products through the internet. However, internet sales are permitted by those entities which obtain either a tobacco monopoly manufacturer license, tobacco monopoly wholesale enterprise license, or a special tobacco monopoly operation enterprise license.

To align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, the law should prohibit all internet sales of tobacco products.

Outdoor advertising (e.g., billboards, posters)

Banned
The listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship is completely banned.
Analysis:

The Advertising Law prohibits publishing tobacco advertisements outdoors.

The law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines with respect to outdoor advertising.

Point of sale advertising/promotion

Banned
The listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship is completely banned.

Point of sale advertising/promotion (other than product displays)

Analysis:

The Advertising Law prohibits publishing tobacco advertisements in public places, which include points of sale.

The law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines with respect to tobacco advertising at points of sale.

Point of sale product display

Uncertain
The status of the regulation is uncertain due to lack of clarity in the law or inability to obtain all relevant laws.
Analysis:

The Advertising Law prohibits publishing tobacco advertisements in public places, which include points of sale. However, because the law does not contain a definition of “tobacco advertising and promotion,” it is not clear whether product display would be considered a form of advertising under the law. Therefore, the regulatory status “Uncertain” is given.

To align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, the law should clearly prohibit point of sale product display and should contain a definition of “tobacco advertising and promotion” in accordance with the definition provided in FCTC Art. 1.

Vending machines

Banned
The listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship is completely banned.
Analysis:

Under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s Rules on Tobacco Monopoly Licensing, the sale of tobacco products by vending machine is prohibited.

The law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, and meets FCTC Art. 16 (sales to and by minors) with regard to vending machines.

Conventional mail

Some Restrictions
There is not a complete ban on the listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship, but one or more limits on the form applies.
Analysis:

The Advertising Law prohibits sending advertising to a person’s housing or means of transport without his or her consent or request. Therefore, any unsolicited tobacco advertising sent via conventional mail is prohibited.

The law does not align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines because it permits some tobacco advertising via conventional mail. To align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, the law should prohibit all tobacco advertising via conventional mail.

Telephone and cellular phone

Some Restrictions
There is not a complete ban on the listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship, but one or more limits on the form applies.
Analysis:

The Advertising Law prohibits sending advertising to a person through electronic means without his or her consent or request. Therefore, any unsolicited tobacco advertising sent via telephone or cellular phone is prohibited.

The law does not align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines because it permits some tobacco advertising via telephone and cellular phone. To align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, the law should prohibit all tobacco advertising via telephone and cellular phone.

Brand marking on physical structures

Banned
The listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship is completely banned.

Distinctive words, designs, images, logos, sounds, or colors to promote tobacco products in entertainment venues, retail outlets, on vehicles and equipment, or other physical structures (brand marking on physical structures, other than on tobacco product packaging and labeling and print material)

Analysis:

The Advertising Law prohibits publishing tobacco advertisements in public places or outdoors, which covers brand marking in entertainment venues, retail outlets, on vehicles and equipment, and other physical structures.

The law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines with respect to brand marking.

Free distribution of tobacco products

Uncertain
The status of the regulation is uncertain due to lack of clarity in the law or inability to obtain all relevant laws.
Analysis:

The Advertising Law prohibits tobacco advertising in public places. However, because the law does not contain a definition of “tobacco advertising and promotion,” it is not clear whether the free distribution of tobacco products would be considered a form of advertising under the law. Therefore, the regulatory status “Uncertain” is given.

To align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, the law should clearly prohibit the free distribution of tobacco products and should contain a definition of “tobacco advertising and promotion” in accordance with the definition provided in FCTC Art. 1.

Promotions with a tobacco product purchase

Allowed
There is no ban and there are no restrictions whatsoever applicable.

Promotional discounts, gifts, prizes, rewards to consumers in conjunction with a tobacco product purchase (e.g., buy one pack, get one free or, key chains, t-shirts, coupons, points)

Analysis:

The law does not prohibit promotional discounts, gifts, prizes, and other rewards to consumers in conjunction with the purchase of a tobacco product; therefore, it is allowed.

To align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, the law should impose a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. To clarify the scope of the ban, the law should define “tobacco advertising and promotion” in accordance with the FCTC definition.

Competitions associated with tobacco products

Allowed
There is no ban and there are no restrictions whatsoever applicable.

Competitions associated with tobacco products or brand names, whether requiring the purchase of a tobacco product or not

Analysis:

Competitions may be associated with tobacco products or brands names. However, if the name of the competition contains the name of a tobacco manufacturer or product, advertisement of the competition may not be disseminated through broadcast, TV, film, newspaper, or periodical.

To align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, the law should impose a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. To clarify the scope of the ban, the law should define “tobacco advertising and promotion” in accordance with the FCTC definition.

Direct person to person targeting of individuals

Some Restrictions
There is not a complete ban on the listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship, but one or more limits on the form applies.
Analysis:

The Advertising Law prohibits advertising in public places, on public transport, and outdoors. Thus, to the extent that direct person-to-person targeting of individuals takes place in these locations, it would be prohibited by law. Therefore, the regulatory status “Some Restrictions” is given.

To align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, the law should clearly prohibit all direct person-to-person targeting of individuals and should contain a definition of “tobacco advertising and promotion” in accordance with the definition provided in FCTC Art. 1.

Brand stretching/trademark diversification

Some Restrictions
There is not a complete ban on the listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship, but one or more limits on the form applies.

Non-tobacco products or services using tobacco brand names or carrying a brand logo or other brand indicia (brand stretching)

Analysis:

Brand stretching is prohibited to the extent that it is used in media advertising or in prohibited places (e.g., public places, means of public transport, outdoors), but is not necessarily prohibited on other goods and services.

In practice, brand stretching is common in China.

To align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, the law should impose a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, including brand stretching. To clarify the scope of the ban, the law should define “tobacco advertising and promotion” in accordance with the FCTC definition.

Reverse brand stretching or brand sharing

Allowed
There is no ban and there are no restrictions whatsoever applicable.

Tobacco products or services using non-tobacco brand names (reverse brand stretching or brand sharing)

Analysis:

The law does not prohibit reverse brand stretching; therefore, it is allowed.

To align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, the law should impose a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, including reverse brand stretching. To clarify the scope of the ban, the law should define “tobacco advertising and promotion” in accordance with the FCTC definition.

Toys that resemble tobacco products

Uncertain
The status of the regulation is uncertain due to lack of clarity in the law or inability to obtain all relevant laws.
Analysis:

The Advertising Law prohibits the distribution of any form of tobacco advertising to children. However, because the law does not contain a definition of “tobacco advertising and promotion,” it is not clear whether toys that resemble tobacco products would be considered a form of advertising under the law. Therefore, the regulatory status “Uncertain” is given.

To align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, the law should clearly prohibit toys that resemble tobacco products and should contain a definition of “tobacco advertising and promotion” in accordance with the definition provided in FCTC Art. 1.

Candy that resembles tobacco products

Uncertain
The status of the regulation is uncertain due to lack of clarity in the law or inability to obtain all relevant laws.
Analysis:

The Advertising Law prohibits the distribution of any form of tobacco advertising to children. However, because the law does not contain a definition of “tobacco advertising and promotion,” it is not clear whether candy that resembles tobacco products would be considered a form of advertising under the law. Therefore, the regulatory status “Uncertain” is given.

To align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, the law should clearly prohibit candy that resembles tobacco products and should contain a definition of “tobacco advertising and promotion” in accordance with the definition provided in FCTC Art. 1.

Retailer incentive programs

Allowed
There is no ban and there are no restrictions whatsoever applicable.

Retailer incentive programs (e.g., rewards to retailers for achieving certain sales volume, enhanced displays, etc.) or other payments to encourage them to sell tobacco products

Analysis:

The law does not prohibit retailer incentive programs; therefore, these practices are allowed.

To align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, the law should impose a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. To clarify the scope of the ban, the law should define “tobacco advertising and promotion” in accordance with the FCTC definition.

Paid placement of tobacco products in TV, film or other media

Banned
The listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship is completely banned.
Analysis:

The Advertising Law prohibits the publication of any tobacco advertising in mass media. Therefore, paid placement of tobacco products in TV, film, and other broadcast media that shows these elements is prohibited.

The law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines with respect to paid placement of tobacco products in TV, film, and other media.

Unpaid depiction of tobacco use or tobacco products in media that does not serve a legitimate purpose

Uncertain
The status of the regulation is uncertain due to lack of clarity in the law or inability to obtain all relevant laws.

Unpaid depiction of tobacco use or tobacco products in TV, film or other media that is not legitimate journalistic, artistic, or academic expression or legitimate social or political commentary

Analysis:

The Advertising Law prohibits the publication of any tobacco advertising in mass media. The law does not address specifically, however, unpaid depiction of tobacco products or tobacco use, nor does the law contain a definition of “tobacco advertising.” Therefore, it is uncertain whether unpaid depiction would be covered under the provisions of the Advertising Law.

To align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, the law should specifically address unpaid placement in accordance with FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines paras. 29-32.

Tobacco industry sponsorship of events, activities, individuals, organizations or governments

Allowed
There is no ban and there are no restrictions whatsoever applicable.

Financial or other sponsorship or support by the tobacco industry to events, activities, individuals or groups (e.g., groups involved in sports, the arts, politics, charitable or welfare, or other activities, or youth smoking prevention programs)

Analysis:

Financial or other contributions that promote tobacco products or tobacco use are allowed. Therefore, sponsorship is allowed for events, activities, individuals, organizations, or programs.

To align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, the law should prohibit all contributions that have the aim, effect, or likely effect of promoting a tobacco product or tobacco use directly or indirectly.

Publicity of financial or other sponsorship or support by the tobacco industry if tobacco sponsorship is not banned

Some Restrictions
There is not a complete ban on the listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship, but one or more limits on the form applies.
Analysis:

Because of the strict rules under the Advertising Law, the publicity of financial or other sponsorship is restricted in many ways. Advertising is prohibited in mass media, in public places and on public transport, and outdoors. Thus, no publicity of sponsorship could appear in these places or forms of media. However, to the extent that some tobacco advertising is still allowed, the publicity of sponsorship would also be allowed. Therefore, the regulatory status “Some Restrictions” is given.

To align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, the law should prohibit all publicity of financial or other sponsorship. In addition, the law should contain definitions of “tobacco advertising and promotion” and “tobacco sponsorship” in accordance with the definitions provided in FCTC Art. 1.

Promotion by any means that are false, misleading or deceptive

Some Restrictions
There is not a complete ban on the listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship, but one or more limits on the form applies.

Promotion by any means that are false, misleading or deceptive or likely to create an erroneous impression about a product's characteristics, health effects, hazards or emissions (covering any term, descriptor, trademark, emblem, marketing image, logo, color and figurative, or any other indicia)

Analysis:

The law does not prohibit specifically misleading terms, descriptors, or symbols. However, the Advertising Law prohibits false and misleading content. In addition, the regulations prohibit advertisements that “indicate or imply medical or healthful effects, such as improving memory, enhancing the stomach or the spleen . . . rejuvenating to be younger, prolongs life, delays aging, or anti-cancer, etc.” Because misleading terms, descriptors, and other similar indicia are not prohibited, the regulatory status “Some Restrictions” is given.

To align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, the law should prohibit promotion by any means that are false, misleading, or deceptive or likely to create an erroneous impression about the characteristics, health effects, hazards, or emissions of tobacco products, including prohibiting misleading terms, descriptors, trademarks, emblems, images, logos, colors, figurative, or other indicia.