Buying Cigarettes
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China to ban gigarettes with more than 11 milligrams of tar

China will ban the sale and import of cigarettes containing more than 11 milligrams of tar from next year as the government seeks to reduce the health-care costs associated with smoking.

The ban is effective from Jan 1, 2013, according to a statement by the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration that was posted today to the central government's website. China set the limit for tar per cigarette at 17 milligrams in 2001 and gradually cut it to 12 milligrams by 2011 to make smoking "less harmful," according to the regulator.

About 1 million people in China die from tobacco-related illnesses every year, according to the World Health Organization. Cancer and other chronic diseases spurred by smoking may lead to slower growth in the world's second-biggest economy if unabated, Health Minister Chen Zhu said in an interview earlier this month.

The cigarette industry in China, home to a third of all the world's smokers, generated more than $95 billion of tax revenue last year. China's tobacco regulator also owns China National Tobacco Corp., which is the world's largest maker of cigarettes and reported 117.7 billion yuan ($23.3 billion) of 2010 profit.

"Low-tar" cigarettes do not show a benefit to public health, the United States National Cancer Institute said in a 2001 report. Smokers who switch to low-tar or low-nicotine cigarettes "compensate" by inhaling deeper, taking more puffs, or smoking more sticks per day, cancelling out any potential benefit of smoking a "low-tar" cigarette, the report said.

Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2012

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