School of Public Health partners with cities in China to lower tobacco use

Georgia State School of Public Health is combining its global impact to fight against tobacco use, according to administrative director of Georgia State’s Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science and executive director of the Global Health Institute-China Tobacco Control Program Pamela Redmon.

Redmon said the China Tobacco Control Partnership is working in five cities to establish sustainable tobacco control programs that aim to change the ways tobacco is used in China.

The School of Public Health is providing funding, training and technical support to each city’s tobacco control program team, according to Redmon.

“[The School of Public Health will help teams] to develop programs to protect nonsmokers from harms of secondhand smoke, prevent non-smokers from starting to smoke and promote quitting among smokers,” she said.

The China Tobacco Control Partnership is a collaboration between the Georgia State School of Public Health, the Think Tank Research Center for Health Development (a nongovernmental organization in China) and a team from each of the five cities chosen, according to Redmon.

“The teams are made up of public health professionals from government organizations in the cities, such as the local CDC (Centers for Disease Control), Health Bureau and the Health Promotion Division,” Redmon said.

China’s Centers for Disease Control and the National Health and Family Planning Commission are also helping the cities’ combat tobacco use, according to Redmon.
The Tobacco Control Partnership was created through a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Redmon said. The United States National Cancer Institute and the Tobacco Free Cities-Cohort initiative, according to Redmon.

Redmon said the five cities in China working with the Tobacco Control Partnership are Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuhan, Xian and Xiamen.

“[These cities] were chosen because they are influential cities in China [and] have strong governmental support for tobacco control,” Redmon said. “They have committed a team of public health professionals to tobacco control efforts and agreed to meet the requirements of the program.”

The Tobacco Control Partnership and School of Public Health chose to work in China because the country produces more tobacco, sells more cigarettes and has more smokers than any other country, Redmon said.

“Changing the landscape of tobacco use in China, the world’s tobacco epicenter, has the potential to result in major health gains,” Redmon said.

Georgia State senior and sociology major Judith Koranteng said she thinks the tobacco initiative has the potential to decrease e-cigarette use among teenagers in the United States.

“Considering how addictive tobacco use has become,” Koranteng said, “I think it’s a great idea, if they can get it to work.”