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Vital Stories

In China, “Giving Cigarettes is Giving Harm” launches

With the Chinese New Year celebrations coming up next month, many people in China will be thinking about what gifts to give their families and colleagues.

One gift that is commonly given – cigarettes.  High quality cigarettes are often expensive in China and are often provided as a gift to boost the giver’s prospects.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wants to “de-normalize” this social norm of giving cigarettes as gifts through an education campaign.

We’ve partnered with them and provided technical and financial support to run a mass media campaign – “Giving Cigarettes is Giving Harm” – between now and the end of February.

The campaign messages include: “You give your friends blessings, together with lung cancer and respiratory system ailments” and “You give your colleagues respect, together with heart disease.”

The campaign ran several years ago with huge success. Half of those who intended to buy cigarettes as gifts said they no longer would after seeing it.

It will run nationally through the CDC network, while a sub-national poster campaign runs in Beijing, Shenzhen and Yunnan provinces.

Tobacco use is a huge burden in China – more than 284 million people smoke including nearly half of all men.