Due to the government's efforts to control growth, the number of smokers within the Chinese cigarette industry has been forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 1% from 2012 to 2017 - a slight decline from the previous five year average.
This decline in growth is expected to lead to sluggish volume growth within cigarettes over the forecast period, with volume sales projected to increase at an average annual rate of 2% (vs. 2007-12 average of 4%).
In addition, less frequent smoking may also result in sluggish volume growth due to rising health awareness among Chinese smokers, many of whom may look to smoke less or even quit entirely.
China represents the single largest market on a global scale. China manufactures 2.3 trillion cigarettes per year, inhaling most of them itself. About 57% of men smoke, though just 3 to 4% of women.
Six out of 10 doctors and professors smoke -- at work, too. The World Health Organization estimates that tobacco kills a million Chinese yearly and that the figure will double by 2020.
Lung cancer is up 465% since 1980 and accounts for nearly a quarter of cancer deaths. Smoking is on the rise, as elsewhere in the developing world.
With growing disposable incomes as a result of steady economic development over the past five years, more smokers are trading up to better quality cigarettes which are usually higher priced. This not only pushed up average unit prices but also current value growth in 2012. Overall, value growth was stronger than volume growth during the year.
The four biggest international tobacco companies - British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco, Japan Tobacco and Phillip Morris International - account for some 45% of the global market, or around three-quarters of the market outside China.
STMA is the sole regulator of the tobacco industry in China and is responsible for implementing tobacco-related standards, targets and circulars. In addition, STMA also monitors the implementation of the regulations it promulgates.
Furthermore, STMA also controls imports of cigarettes and aims to protect domestic tobacco manufacturers.
For more information on the Chinese cigarettes industry, see the latest research: Tobacco Market Research
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