People's Republic of China celebrates its 60th anniversary starting October 1, 2009..

September 30, 2009 - Local governments have been stepping up enforcement of non-smoking laws to guarantee "security" in the weeks before the 60th anniversary.

China has approximately 350 million smokers and a growing army of young people are picking up the habit, it added. Half of all male Chinese smoke.

China is the largest producer and consumer of cigarettes in the world with up to a million people dying of smoking-related diseases each year. This figure could rise to up to three million by 2050.

China is the world’s heaviest smoker. The China National Tobacco Company (CNTC), a constituent of the government-run China State Tobacco Monopoly Administration, is the largest tobacco company in the world, and Chinese constitute one-third of all the world’s smokers. Also, the country’s tobacco industry accounts for about 8% of total government revenues, according to the World Bank, and health experts and global economists are curious: can the Chinese government kick the habit?

China’s current 40% tobacco tax (calculated as 40% of the total retail price) is considerably lower than in other countries, which average about 65%. Experts say the Chinese government has been reluctant to raise the tobacco tax because the increase could threaten not only revenue for the CNTC, but also the estimated 4 million Chinese who work either on farms or in factories and rely on the tobacco industry for their livelihood.

The World Bank estimates that in developing countries, such as China, where people have less disposable income, a 10% increase in the price of cigarettes would translate on average into an 8% drop in cigarette consumption. That’s good news for governments, since, in the short to medium term at least, they can earn more tax revenue, even as cigarette consumption declines — reaping both fiscal and public-health benefits.

Nearly 60 percent of Chinese men smoke and China consumes more than 37 percent of the world's cigarettes.

50 million Chinese children, mostly boys, will die prematurely from tobacco-related diseases.

From the Boston Globe a collection of images from the past several weeks of people around China preparing to celebrate their National Day.