China National Tobacco Corporation Is Making Trillions of Cigarettes to Sell at Home and Abroad

China National Tobacco Corporation (CNTC) is expanding its business globally

New Report Details Aggressive International Expansion

(New York, July 26, 2022) — Tobacco industry watchdog, STOP, today published a new brief on China National Tobacco Corporation (CNTC), detailing the international expansion of the company since its formation in 1982. While major transnational tobacco companies like British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco and Philip Morris are well known in many countries, fewer people are aware that CNTC is the world’s largest producer of cigarettes, producing 2.5 trillion annually for sale in its home market and in countries around the world.

The brief details how CNTC’s global expansion has been facilitated through joint ventures, a complex network of subsidiaries, a stock market listing and, as a state-owned monopoly, through foreign policy influence. The company’s inclusion in the Chinese government’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative has opened the door to high-level political and economic influence. The company’s business interests now span across Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, the U.S.A. and Latin America.

Gan Quan, Director of Tobacco Control at The Union, a partner in STOP, said: “China National Tobacco Corporation is the biggest tobacco company most people have never heard of. It is as much of a driver of the global tobacco epidemic as the better-known transnational tobacco companies and it even works with some of those companies when this supports its business growth. Government officials need to remember that when any tobacco company seeks expansion, it is a threat to public health.”

CNTC is controlled by the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration, which also helps to set tobacco control policy in China. China remains the world’s largest cigarette market and is estimated to be home to more than 300 million smokers, nearly one-third of the world’s total. One million people die every year in China from diseases caused by tobacco use, which equates to around 3,000 deaths every day.

Please contact the STOP press office for more information or to speak to a STOP spokesperson.

About STOP (Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products)

STOP is a global tobacco industry watchdog whose mission is to expose the tobacco industry strategies and tactics that undermine public health. STOP is funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies and comprised of a partnership among The Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath, The Global Center for Good Governance in Tobacco Control (GGTC), the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) and Vital Strategies. For more information, visit