Buying Cigarettes in China Today Won't Be as Easy as Usual

By Matthew Bossons, May 31, 2019

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UPDATE (May 31, 2019 at 9.32pm CST): As of 8pm this evening, it appears most 7-Eleven and FamilyMart stores are now selling cigarettes again. 

If you’re a smoker in China, getting your nicotine fix today might not be as easy as it normally is.

Today is World No Tobacco Day 2019 (WNTD) and, to help promote a tobacco-free lifestyle, (most) 7-Eleven stores across China will not be selling cigarettes all day.

We visited a 7-Eleven store in Guangzhou’s Yuexiu district this morning to learn more about the convenience store chain’s participation in WNTD 2019 and were told by an employee that 7-Eleven shops nationwide are participating in the anti-smoking campaign.

The cigarette display rack inside the 7-Eleven outlet we visited had removed all tobacco products and replaced them with packets of tissue paper.

Additionally, we’ve received feedback from multiple readers that FamilyMart stores in Guangzhou are also turning away shoppers who are looking to purchase cigarettes, although we’ve been unable to independently confirm this. 

Image by Matt Bossons/That’s

We later checked out a number of mom-and-pop stores in the same area, though, and discovered that smokes are still widely available. That’s has also received word that at least one 7-Eleven in Shenzhen is still selling cigarettes and is unaware of the WNTD campaign.

According to the World Health Organization, the theme of this year’s WNTD is ‘tobacco and lung health.’ The organization’s website states:

“The campaign will increase awareness on: the negative impact that tobacco has on people’s lung health, from cancer to chronic respiratory disease, the fundamental role lungs play for the health and well-being of all people. The campaign also serves as a call to action, advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption and engaging stakeholders across multiple sectors in the fight for tobacco control.”

Admittedly, it’s not immediately clear if every 7-Eleven and FamilyMart nationwide is participating in this anti-smoking drive, as we’ve heard mixed reports from Shenzhen and a number of other cities (although we can tell you that Chengdu 7-Eleven stores are participating). At any rate, smokers, things should be back to normal tomorrow!

READ MORE: TFBoy Roy Wang Busted Smoking in Beijing Sushi Restaurant

UPDATE (May 31, 2019 at 3.09pm CST): This article has been updated to include additional information related to FamilyMart and a 7-Eleven location in Shenzhen.

[Cover image via Pixabay]

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