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Tobacco Surcharge to Curb Smoking
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Chinese political advisor Huang Jun has proposed setting up tobacco surcharge to reduce the huge number of smokers in China.

The surcharge, either to be levied on cigarette producers or sellers, should be used to fund smoking prevention efforts and the treatment of smoking-related diseases, said Huang, a member of the 10th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

He suggested that the provincial government of Jiangsu pilot the surcharge program and order taxation departments to levy 0.1 percent of the sales revenue of the tobacco industry.

According to the World Health Organization, China is the world's largest producer and consumer of tobacco with 350 million smokers, who consume one third of the world's total cigarettes annually.

Huang, vice president of the Nanjing Medical University in Jiangsu, said approximately 600,000 people die from smoking-related diseases in China each year and the death toll could jump to two million in 2025 if no effective anti-smoking measures were taken.

A lady who only gave her surname as Liu, a Beijing resident, welcomed the suggestion. "A much higher surcharge should be levied. Higher enough cigarette price may force some people to quit smoking."

The annual session of the CPPCC National Committee kicked off on March 3 and will end on March 15.

(Xinhua News Agency March 6, 2007)

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