Beijing residents went on a wave of panic buying Tuesday, fearing the government would follow up a decision to free the price of quality cigarettes and liquor by raising the cost of food.

Prices of top-brand cigarettes and liquor will be allowed to float free of state controls beginning Thursday, the State Council said, noting that consumers could expect to pay up to 500 percent more for their vices.In June, inflation soared by 19 percent compared with the same period last year, fueled by flagging agricultural output and heavy consumer demand.