China Insights
English
English

Overall smoking rate drop, but more women light up

Sophie Shen

General Manager of CTR Media & Consumption Behaviour

Health 29.05.2015 / 11:06


Kantar
  • SAVE
  • Close

    SHARE THIS WITH FRIENDS

  • EMBED
    Close

    Copy this code to your blog

The smoking rate among Chinese declined by seven percentage points in the past 10 years. But there is a significant increase in female smokers.

The proportion of Chinese who "smoked in the past 12 months" dropped from 28.3% in 2005 to 21.3% in 2014, according to CNRS-TGI survey data released ahead of the "No Tobacco Day" on May 31.

This data set is based on CNRS-TGI's surveys in 36 Chinese major cities with about 80,000 samples polled each year.

Though there was a minor uptick in 2008 and 2009, statisticians said this is within the normal fluctuation range of a data set across a long period of time and won't change the overall nature of declining smoking rate in China.

The decline was mostly driven by an even bigger drop of male smokers. The proportion of smoking population among Chinese men lost 14.5 percentage points in 10 years, from 52.5% in 2005 to 38% in 2014.

The drop was the outcome of persistent anti-smoking campaign in China. With more people aware of smoking's damage to health, men are increasingly discouraged from smoking as well as limited in the space where they can smoke. Also, the campaigns have made smoking no longer a cool thing to do.

However, it is a totally different picture among female smokers. The smoking rate experienced a decline from 2005 to 2010, during which the rate dropped from 2.3% to 1.2%. But since then there was a significant and strong rebound: it nearly tripled to 3.3% in 2014.

The increase was propelled by the growing number of young, well-educated and high-income female smokers. CNRS-TGI data in 2014 has found that the average income of female smoker is 7,818 yuan, while that for all urban female population was only 4,367 yuan. Among all female smokers, 48% are between 15 and 34 and 64% of them have a bachelor and above degree. It seems women with higher social status and more education are more open to the idea of picking up smoking.

We also found that many women resorted to smoking to deal with pressure - 72% of female smokers agreed to "there are too many things in my life put pressure on me" in 2014, compared to 57% among all urban women.

Another factor is that Chinese society tolerates female smokers better -- people no longer see female smokers as strange, even though the public understand it is not healthy to smoke.

In a separate global survey, Kantar Health compared smokers' behaviour across China, the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Spain.

Though biggest in population, Chinese smokers, it seems, are least addicted to this habit among the five. Fifty-eight percent of Chinese smokers consume less than 10 cigarettes a day in 2013, while it was below 50% for all the other countries. Also, 37% of Chinese smokers will light up their first cigarette of the day at least 60 minutes after they wake up.

Source: CTR, Kantar Health


Editor's notes

* To reach the author, or to know more information, data and analysis of health industry in China, please contact us.

* Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive news alerts.

Latest Stories

RT-Mart and P&G are still top FMCG retailer and manufacturer in the annual PoweRanking survey. Yonghui is the fastest rising retailer and Tmall makes it into top 10 for first time. Three Chinese FMCG brands occupy the top 10 manufacturers list.

China’s two-speed growth: in and out of the home

Apple posts a strong period-on-period gain in urban China, but this is another period of year-on-year decline that began during the three months ending February 2016.

Chinese Family Big Screen TV Viewing Report 2017 shows that in 35 major cities, nearly 23% TV audiences have at least one Smart TV or a Smart TV top-box.

Chinese brands dominate top 10 ranking, as well as contributing nine out of top 10 fastest rising brands.

Related Content
Social Network