Smoking is a major public health problem worldwide. Estimates for smoking prevalence among adolescents in different regions and in the whole of China are important for the development of public health policies. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate the prevalence of smoking among youth in China. This is a meta-analysis study. English (PubMed, EMBASE) and Chinese (China National Knowledge Internet, WANFANG Data, and CBM) databases were independently searched by two investigators from inception to May 2019. Random effects meta-analysis was conducted to estimate the pooled prevalence of smoking. Subgroup analysis and meta-regression were performed to investigate sources of heterogeneity. This study is registered with PROSPERO, number CRD42019130803. In total, 131 articles were included in the meta-analysis, with a total of 146 studies, involving 684,370 Chinese participants. The total prevalence of smoking among youth in mainland China was 8.17% (95% confidence interval: 6.97-9.45). Subgroup analysis showed that the geographic location and gender could significantly influence the prevalence of smoking. Meta-regression analyses revealed study year, sex ratio (male, %), and response rates did not contribute to the heterogeneity of the results (P-value >0.05). Sensitivity analysis showed that the results were statistically stable. This meta-analysis indicates that smoking is common among adolescents in China, and the rate varies between different regions. More practical and effective policies targeting adolescents are urgently needed. Copyright © 2020 The Royal Society for Public Health. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.