Georgia State University Research Foundation, Inc.’s School of Public Health has received a grant of nearly $872,000 from Pfizer Inc. to continue partnering with Chinese health officials working to curb smoking in five major cities in China.
The five partner cities, which have a total population of more than 69 million people in central and coastal China, are Chongqing, Chengdu, Wuhan, Xi’an and Xiamen.
[Photo: Wuhan Volunteer]
Xi’an, famous for its Terracotta Army, expects to implement a policy by summer 2017 to make public places smoke-free. Recent tobacco control efforts there include a competition to encourage people to quit smoking, which prompted 2,000 people to visit cessation clinics and 561 to participate in the contest. In another activity, a local government official took part in a campaign to pick up cigarette butts on the historic stone city walls of Xi’an, drawing media attention to the anti-smoking campaign.
“It is exciting to see the progress that these cities in China are making,” said Pam Redmon, executive director of the China Tobacco Control Partnership at Georgia State University. “Each city is working on smoke-free policies in their specific identified sectors, including businesses, government agencies, hotels and tourism sites.”
The Chinese partner cities have conducted surveys to generate data about who smokes and how much, worked to educate the public about the hazards of smoking through public service announcements and stories in local media outlets, encouraged young people to sign pledges not to smoke, organized smoking cessation classes and recruited volunteers to help enforce smoke-free zones in public gathering places, such as video-game parlors.
“These cities are continuing to recruit new venues to join the tobacco control effort, and to monitor and evaluate the policy implementation and enforcement as they work toward curbing the tobacco epidemic in China,” said Redmon, who is also administrative director of the Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science at the School of Public Health at Georgia State University.
China produces more tobacco and has more smokers than any other country in the world. The grant provided by Pfizer supports the ongoing project with Chinese officials to develop policies and implement programs to protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke, encourage smokers to quit and prevent women, children and young adults from starting smoking.
The project, Diffusion of Tobacco Control Fundamentals to Other Large Chinese Cities, also includes partnerships with China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission (formerly the Ministry of Health), ThinkTank Research Center for Health Development, a nongovernmental group based in Beijing, and the China Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is the third year in which Pfizer provided a grant to support Georgia State University’s tobacco prevention and control efforts in China.
The project is led by principal investigator Dr. Michael Eriksen, Ms. Redmon, and Dr. Jeffrey Koplan, vice president for global health at Emory University and former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.