Georgia State University's School of Public Health has received a grant of more than $867,000 from Pfizer Inc. to continue working with Chinese health officials to implement tobacco control programs in five major cities in China.
China produces more tobacco and has more smokers than any country in the world. The grant supports ongoing work with officials to develop policies and 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 is led by principal investigator Dr. Michael Eriksen, dean of the School of Public Health; Pam Redmon, executive director of the China Tobacco Control Partnership and administrative director of the School of Public Health's Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science; and Dr. Jeffrey Koplan, vice president for global health at Emory University and former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Five Chinese cities were chosen for the effort based on their leaders' readiness to support tobacco control efforts and the presence of public health organizations positioned to lead programs in their communities. They are Chongqing (with a population of 33 million), Chengdu, Wuhan, Xi'an (famous for its terracotta army) and Xiamen. Together, the five partner cities have a population of more than 69 million people.
"China's cities have a unique opportunity to lead from the 'bottom up' to change tobacco use social norms," Redmon said. "In fact, they may be the driving force in changing the landscape of smoking and curbing the tobacco epidemic in China."
As China's population continues to become more urbanized, the role of cities will only grow, Eriksen noted.
"The idea is to shift the social norms in China, to make smoking less socially acceptable," Eriksen said. "Eventually, that will lead to more Chinese smokers wanting to quit, and fewer people taking up the habit. Targeting cities for these effort allows us to have the greatest impact on the largest number of people."
The ongoing 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 CDC.
This is the second year of funding from Pfizer to support the work in China. Last year, the company granted nearly $850,000 to the School of Public Health to fund the first year of the three-year project.