Pfizer Inc. has granted nearly $850,000 to Georgia State University's School of Public Health to partner with Chinese health officials to expand tobacco control efforts to major cities in China.
The grant will support 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 will be led by 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.
China produces more tobacco and has more smokers than any other country in the world. In recent years, Chinese officials have shown interest in regulating tobacco use, but more can be done to put sufficient policies and programs in place to curb smoking and protect non-smokers from secondhand smoke. Studies have shown that targeting tobacco control efforts at the municipal level can be an effective approach in China, which has more than 160 cities with populations exceeding one million.
"The support of Pfizer will allow us to continue shifting social norms in China, making smoking less socially acceptable and resulting in more Chinese smokers wanting to quit," said Dr. Eriksen. "Currently, interest in smoking cessation is low in China, and to the extent we can increase quit rates, millions of lives can be saved."
The grant builds on tobacco control work conducted in China by a team of researchers from Georgia State and Emory that was previously funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Gates-funded China Tobacco Control Partnership (CTP) began in 2008 and has led to significant social norm changes and the development of extensive relationships with national and local public health leaders in both governmental and non-governmental roles, especially through the CTP's Tobacco Free Cities initiative.
The new project, Diffusion of Tobacco Control Fundamentals to Other Large Chinese Cities, will expand the Tobacco Free Cities work through 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. Researchers will work with cities whose leaders demonstrate readiness to support tobacco control efforts and select public health organizations positioned to lead the efforts.