Anti-smoking campaigns have proven effective in some parts of the United States, but what effect could they have on a country ranked third among the number of active smokers? Guidelines implemented by the World Health Organization (WHO) could prevent up to 13 million smoking-related deaths in China by 2050 and could reduce the number of smokers by more than 40 percent.

According to the WHO, half of all smokers will die as a result of tobacco use including upward of six million people each year. Out of the global impact of smoking-related fatalities, 600,000 have been attributed to non-smokers who were exposed to second-hand smoke. Approximately, 80 percent of the estimated one billion smokers around the world live in low- and middle- income countries. Countries who have implemented bans on tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship have decreased tobacco consumption by seven percent in some countries and 17 percent in others.

Researchers from Spain, France, and the U.S. estimated the potential health impact of the WHO’s proposal using the SimSmoke Tobacco Control Policy model, an international record of smoking prevalence and smoking-related deaths. Researchers said, in a press release, implementing the guidelines set forth by the WHO "would lead to as much as a 34% relative reduction in male smoking prevalence by 2020, and a 41% reduction by 2050." If the WHO guidelines are ignored, China can expect an additional 50 million smoking-related deaths between 2015 and 2050.

Following the application of smoke-free air laws and tobacco marketing bans have showed “potent and immediate” effects in other countries. Implementing smoke-free air laws in China could reduce smoking rates by nine percent in 2015. Furthermore, increasing increase taxes by 75 percent could also reduce the number of smokers by 10 percent of both males and females by 2015. By 2015, the number of smoking-related deaths was expected at 932,000 men and 79,000 women.

When 2050 finally rolls around, the research team expects the number of female smokers in China to reduce by 12 percent and male smokers by 13 percent. Between 2015 and 2050, researchers expect that WHO guidelines will save 3.5 million lives. A complete ban on tobacco marketing could help reduce smoking by four percent in China. The research team was also confident that "without the implementation of the complete set of stronger policies, the death and disability legacy of current smoking will endure for decades in China."

When 2050 finally rolls around, the research team expects the number of female smokers in China to reduce by 12 percent and male smokers by 13 percent. Between 2015 and 2050, researchers expect that increasing tobacco sales will save 3.5 million lives. Combine that with smoke-free air campaigns and China could see a reduction in 13 million deaths by the year 2050. A complete ban on tobacco marketing could help reduce smoking by four percent in China. The research team was also confident that "without the implementation of the complete set of  stronger policies, the death and disability legacy of current smoking  will endure for decades in China."