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Public Health and Political Crises behind China’s Growing Tobacco Epidemic

While China’s remarkable economic growth over the past three decades has been one of the most impressive achievements of the last quarter century, the country has also gained a reputation as “the smoking dragon” due to its rapidly growing tobacco industry and ongoing smoking-related health crisis. Currently, the People’s Republic of China is the world’s biggest tobacco producer, largest cigarette consumer and gravest victim of the smoking-related health crisis with estimated one-million tobacco-related deaths a year. Growing public awareness of and interest in health issues, as well as ballooning medical costs, could trigger significant public resentment and social unrest. China’s anti-smoking campaign faces an uphill battle, though it has the potential – and an unprecedented opportunity – to change the course of the tobacco epidemic within China and across the world.

On October 25, the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings will host a discussion of China’s tobacco epidemic health crisis and its political ramifications, featuring “
The Political Mapping of China’s Tobacco Industry and Anti-Smoking Campaign
,” a new monograph by Cheng Li, senior fellow and director of research at the John L. Thornton China Center. Brookings Senior Fellow Jonathan Pollack, acting director of the John L. Thornton China Center, will provide opening remarks. Former Deputy Director of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention Yang Gonghuan and Council on Foreign Relations’ Yanzhong Huang will provide commentaries. The discussion will be moderated by Sarah England of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

After the program, participants will take audience questions.




Yang Gonghuan

Former Deputy Director - Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China)


Yanzhong Huang

Senior Fellow for Global Health - Council on Foreign Relations




Sarah England

Global Public Health Team - Bloomberg Philanthropies

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