17 Chinese cities have benefitted from a program launched by the Emory Global Health Institute – China Tobacco Control Partnership (GHI-CTP) to to curb tobacco use.
Since an initial 2009 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Tobacco-Free Cities Program has resulted in the adoption of smoke-free policies and significant social norm change in 17 cities across China. These cities include Anshan, Changchun, Hangzhou, Kelamayi and Qingdao.
In Hangzhou, the Four Seasons, Santai, and Sheraton hotel chains are now smoke-free, while in Kelamayi, policies for smoke-free public places, workplaces and government agencies have been implemented.
“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,” says Prof. Jeffrey Koplan, Emory University vice president for global health.
Education and media campaigns on Weibo, print, radio and television have also been elements crucial to the program’s success in changing social norms.
“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.”