Pro-Cigarette Smoking Regulation: Smoke or Be Fined

Generally, many smokers throughout the world are accustomed to paying a high tax premium on cigarettes in order to discourage smoking. However, citizens of the central-Chinese province of Hubei were faced with the opposite situation in 2009, which is to smoke cigarettes or pay a fine.

During the great recession, China, one of the countries with the largest economies, received a huge impact. Their exports declined and their unemployment rate rose. At the time, the majority of China's municipal taxes came from cigarette sales, which led the country to enact laws encouraging cigarette use.

According to The Telegraph, there was a smoking quota placed on local teachers, and "one village was compelled to buy 400 cartons of cigarettes a year for its officials”. The officials also have been instructed to smoke four and a half million cigarettes annually or face a fine.

According to the Global Times, the Gong'an county administration in Hubei province has instructed its personnel to consume 230,000 packs of cigarette brands made in Hubei annually. Departments will be fined if they don't accomplish their goals. The action can also be a ruse to support regional cigarette manufacturers.

Although China's financial situation has improved, there are currently estimated 350 million smokers in China and a million of them die from illnesses linked to smoking every year. WHO estimates China smokes one out of every three cigarettes around the globe.


Top 12 weirdest tax rules around the world. (2014, February 14). Christian Science Monitor. Report:

Chinese Government Ordering Officials to Smoke. (2015, January 14). Fox News.

Smoke or be fined: China to officials. (2009, May 4). Retrieved July 9, 2022, from