Impact of tobacco tax and price policies on tobacco use in China

In the past four decades, research on the effectiveness of tobacco tax and price policies in high-income countries has become increasingly sophisticated and the evidence base has expanded. However, the number of studies examining the impact of a tobacco tax and price policies in China are few. Given China's current low and inefficient cigarette excise tax, and high cigarette affordability, there is room for Chinese policymakers to use tobacco tax and price as a policy tool to tackle the tremendous burden tobacco imposes on Chinese society and to learn how responsive Chinese smokers are to cigarette tax and price increases.

This project focuses on the role of tobacco taxes and prices in reducing tobacco burden in China. It aims to fill critical gaps in tobacco tax and price research in China, an area that has been identified as a weakness in China's tobacco control efforts.

The main source of data for the study is the International Tobacco Control (ITC) China Survey. The survey, conducted in seven cities in China, collects extensive information relevant to tobacco use and control. To date, four waves of the ITC China survey have been completed. In addition to ITC China data, data on tobacco tax revenue, national and local employment, and economic data will be compiled from government and other archival or online sources. Researchers will use this data to estimate the price elasticity of tobacco based on conditional demand. They will also look at and brand switching and quitting behaviors. Once the estimates of price elasticity are obtained, the study will simulate the impact of cigarette tax/price increases on cigarette consumption, government tax revenue, tobacco industry gross revenue, and tobacco-related employment. Additional simulations will be conducted on the impact of imposing minimum pricing laws on cigarette prices, and their impact on cigarette consumption, revenue, and employment.

The study will contribute to tobacco control research in China and provide Chinese policymakers and tobacco control advocates with much-needed evidence of the potential impact of tobacco tax and price policies, enabling effective policy design and rigorous policy evaluations in China.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Sunday, July 1, 2012

End Date

Wednesday, December 31, 2014


24 months

IDRC Officer

Hallen, Greg

Total funding

CA$ 101,400


China, Far East Asia, Central Asia, South Asia


Food, Environment, and Health

Project Leader

Jidong Huang

Project Leader

Professor Rong Zheng


University of International Business and Economics as represented by [name of individual designated as legal representative]

Institution Country


Institution Website