A smoke shop owner in Shanghai has a plan to solve the tobacco-store dilemma.
As long as a smoker chooses a shop, there will always be a supply of cigarettes at home, he said.
“If you can’t go and buy cigarettes yourself, you can order them through a delivery service and you won’t be in any trouble,” the owner, surnamed Chen, told Al Jazeera.
The plan comes as the tobacco industry in China faces pressure to crack down on cigarette sales.
Smoke shops in the capital, Beijing, have been hit hard by the country’s rapid economic growth and soaring demand for cigarettes, leading some businesses to close.
Chen said there are many different ways to get cigarettes at different prices.
You can also try to get them from online stores,” he said, using a slang term for tobacco.”
If you want cigarettes at a better price, you might try buying them online.
You can also try to get them from online stores,” he said, using a slang term for tobacco.
Chens shop was among the last remaining ones in the city.
“When the [smoke] shops closed down, the shop owners in Shanghai started thinking about getting out of the business,” he told Al-Jazeera.
“They thought that if they keep smoking, the shops will close down.”
China’s Tobacco Industry in CrisisThe country’s tobacco industry has been in crisis since 2010 when China introduced a national standard, set in 2007, to regulate the sale and supply of tobacco products.
The government has promised to crack the industry down on sales, but the measures have proven ineffective.
A survey of Chinese smokers published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2015 found that only 1.8 percent of those surveyed had tried to quit using tobacco.
Despite this, a small number of people continue to smoke.
In China, the countrys largest tobacco market, more than 10 percent of smokers are estimated to be heavy smokers.
Some analysts say the government should focus more on tackling the root causes of smoking and on creating a “green” economy, a euphemism for the use of less harmful alternatives to tobacco.
“We have to stop buying tobacco.
If we don’t, China’s tobacco problem will get worse,” said Wang Lijuan, an economist at the Shanghai Institute of International Studies.