New research determines that efforts to reduce tobacco use in China have been ineffective.
Ten articles just published in a supplement of the journal Tobacco Control report findings from research conducted in China by the ITC Project, a 23-country partnership led by Waterloo professor Geoffrey T. Fong that examines the impact of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC). China joined the FCTC in 2006.
“The new ITC studies demonstrate the urgent need for the Chinese government to accelerate progress towards ending the tobacco epidemic across several key policy fronts including a national comprehensive smoke-free law, pictorial health warnings, and strong controls on misleading marketing and harmful cigarette design practices,” said Professor Fong.
In collaboration with the Tobacco Control Office of the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the ITC Project conducted surveys of more than 5,000 adult smokers and 1,000 non-smokers in seven cities in China in 2006, 2007-08, 2009, and 2011-12.
China’s slow progress in implementing strong FCTC policies is evident across the studies. For example, in one paper, authors estimate that China’s decision to implement text-only health warnings, rather than pictorial warnings resulted in an estimated 28.5 million fewer smokers noticing the warning. This estimation is based on ITC comparative surveys in Malaysia showing a 12.5% increase in noticing warnings after they were changed from text to pictorial warnings, compared to an increase of only 3.1 per cent in China.