Global Health Institute snuffing out smoking in China

Aug. 29, 2013

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The Tobacco-Free Cities program in China has resulted in "unparalleled success" in tobacco control efforts, says Jeffrey Koplan, Emory University vice president for global health.

The Emory Global Health Institute – China Tobacco Control Partnership (GHI-CTP) has announced remarkable success in curbing tobacco use through its Tobacco-Free Cities Program.  

An initial grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation allowed the GHI-CTP to support the development of comprehensive subnational tobacco control programs in cities throughout China. The results of the first three years of the program resulted in the adoption of smoke-free policies and significant social norm change in targeted cities.  

Starting in 2009, the Emory GHI-CTP Tobacco-Free Cities Program has assisted Chinese partners in developing and implementing locally tailored evidence-based tobacco control initiatives in 17 cities. Several cities have realized unparalleled success in their tobacco control efforts," says Jeffrey Koplan, MD, MPH, Emory University vice president for global health.  

"These cities have created smoke-free hospitals, workplaces, schools, government buildings and more. In addition to these targeted achievements, three cities have legislated total bans on smoking in public places, and we expect three more to adopt smoke-free public places policies this year."  

"Our goal is to decrease tobacco-related disease and death by changing the social norms around tobacco use," says Pamela Redmon, GHI-CTP executive director. "In addition to the smoke-free policies, we have created specific programs targeting pregnant women and families, community programs, smoke-free weddings, and cessation competitions using an innovative 'Text2Quit' platform."  

Education and media have also been elements crucial to the program's success in changing social norms. Media campaigns have been employed including social media, such as Weibo – the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, as well as print, radio and television news coverage.  

Results by city include:  

  • Anshan: Smoke-free public places policy and smoke-free enterprises and government agencies  
  • Changchun: Smoke-free schools and government buildings  
  • Hangzhou: Smoke-free hotels (Four Seasons, Santai, Sheraton) and restaurant (Grandma's) chain  
  • Kelamayi: Smoke-free public places policy, workplaces and government agencies  
  • Qingdao: Smoke-free public places policy and smoke-free hospitals  

The Emory GHI-CTP training and technical assistance model developed for this project can bring tobacco control resources to more cities throughout China. The model is easily replicable, leverages best-practice approaches and its results are proven.  

Highlights of the Emory GHI-CTP Tobacco-Free Cities Program can be found in the online brochure

For more information about the Emory GHI-CTP, visit www.ghi-ctp.emory.edu.