News Release: School of Public Health

Apr. 26,  2010

Emory Global Health Institute-China Tobacco Control Partnership Announces Programs of Excellence

News Article ImageChina has more than 300 million smokers - the most of any country - and is the chief producer of tobacco products in the world. More than 500 million people in China are exposed to secondhand smoke.

The Emory Global Health Institute-China Tobacco Control Partnership has announced five new Programs of Excellence in Tobacco Control aimed at helping reduce the burden of tobacco use in China. The programs will address numerous aspects of smoking and tobacco production, including medical, economic, social, political, legal and agricultural considerations and consequences.

The new programs were announced in Beijing on Saturday, April 24, at a press conference organized by the ThinkTank Research Center for Health Development (TTH), a non-profit institution in China. TTH will provide management and oversight for the new Programs of Excellence.

The Emory Global Health Institute-China Tobacco Control Partnership was established through a five-year grant from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant will help fund the Programs of Excellence for up to three years.

The new programs will serve as a resource for applied research on best and promising practices in tobacco control, building tobacco control research, scholarship, and expertise by increasing capacity in Chinese universities and institutes.

"We expect the research and scholarship from these Programs of Excellence to lead to major scientific advances that can be applied to advancing tobacco control in China," says Jeffrey P. Koplan, MD, MPH, director of the Emory Global Health Institute. "These partnership efforts will include the prevention of tobacco use, population strategies to increase smoking cessation, and efforts to reduce and protect non-smokers from exposure to second hand smoke."

China has more than 300 million smokers - the most of any country - and is the chief producer of tobacco products in the world. More than 500 million people in China are exposed to secondhand smoke.

The funded programs are:

  • Preventing Tobacco Use in Rural China
    Kunming Medical University, School of Public Health
    This program will provide a comprehensive analysis of the dangers of smoking and secondhand smoke, socio-economic factors, and the associated economic costs in rural China. The analysis will give tobacco control practitioners and policymakers information to craft more effective tobacco control policies and programs to reduce tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure and prevent initiation of tobacco use.
  • Alternatives to Growing Tobacco in Rural China
    Yunnan Agricultural University, College of Economics and Management,
    Pioneers for Health Consultancy Center

    This program will determine the feasibility of alternatives to growing tobacco in rural China. The program will include engagement of tobacco growing communities; research on the feasibility of alternative crops; and message development for policy makers on the health and economic benefits of alternatives to tobacco crops.
  • Legal Analysis and Legislation Related to Tobacco Control
    Tsinghua University Law School; Health Research Centre of Tsinghua University
    This program will analyze policy and legal issues related to tobacco control in China, and will establish a Legal Center on Tobacco Control to provide expertise and resources to the tobacco control workforce. The program will analyze tobacco control in terms of China civil law, make recommendations, and draft laws and legislation; review the total smoking ban in public places, consider changes, and determine enforcement; consider alternatives to tobacco growth and production via policy; and analyze legal issues regarding tobacco product sales and make policy recommendations.
  • Behavioral and Social Factors Influencing Smoking
    Shanghai Jiao Tong University, School of Public Health
    This program will provide training and technical assistance to researchers focused on tobacco control. It will standardize methods for assessing tobacco control outcomes as well as outcomes measures. A long-term study will determine behavioral, social, family, and community-level factors that influence smoking initiation in youth.
  • Model Sustainable Strategies and Practices for Tobacco Control in Rural China
    Shandong University, Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics
    This program will develop appropriate, effective, and sustainable tobacco control strategies and model practices in tobacco control in rural areas in China. The program will become a resource for comprehensive rural tobacco control program interventions.

In June 2009, the Emory Global Health Institute-China Tobacco Partnership, along with TTH, announced "Tobacco Free Cities" projects in seven Chinese cities (Shanghai, Wuxi, Changsha, Ningbo, Qingdao, Luoyang and Tangshan). The seven cities have begun to implement smoke-free programs that will ban smoking in any indoor areas and help prevent health threats created by passive smoking, especially to pregnant women and children. An additional seven cities will be funded in summer 2010 to implement tobacco control programs aimed at preventing initiation of tobacco use, protecting non-smokers from second-hand smoke, and promoting cessation among smokers.

Koplan is principal investigator of the Gates grant and leads the Emory Global Health Institute-China Tobacco Control Partnership along with Pamela Redmon, MPH, a nationally recognized tobacco control leader and technical assistance provider in the United States.

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