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Survey Indicates Fewer People in Beijing and Shanghai Intended to Give Cigarettes

Note: World Lung Foundation united with The Union North America. From January 2016, the combined organization is known as “Vital Strategies.”

(Beijing, China) –  China CDC and World Lung Foundation today announced they have completed a mass media campaign to educate the public on the harmful consequences of giving cigarettes as gifts to family, friends and colleagues. A post-campaign survey showed the number of people who reported they would buy cigarettes as gifts decreased from 45% to 24% in Beijing and from 23% to 12% in Guangzhou after airing the public service advertisement.

The intercept survey of over 2,000 people across several cities revealed the decrease in cigarette gift giving could be attributed to the national ‘Giving Cigarettes is Giving Harm' advertising campaign.  The survey also showed that after the mass media campaign, reported awareness of the risk of cardiovascular disease due to smoking increased from 29% to 60% among Beijing respondents, and over 66% of respondents from Guangzhou claimed they would persuade others to quit smoking after viewing the campaign.

“Smoking leads to serious health consequences such as lung cancer, stroke and even death,” said Professor Yang Gonghuan, Deputy Director, China CDC and Head of the National Tobacco Control Office. “The public should fully understand these risks before they consider giving their family and friends such a dangerous product.” Prof. Yang's concerns are well grounded, as half of the respondents think cigarettes are a common gift, and they have very limited knowledge of tobacco hazards.

“We are delighted to see this campaign appears to have begun impacting the cigarette gift giving culture in some localities. Changing behaviour, however, is a long term process and the knowledge of the various health risks of smoking is still very low among the general public. As such, continuous communications are necessary to ultimately change behaviour for the long term,” commented Peter Baldini, Chief Executive Officer, World Lung Foundation.

The “Giving Cigarettes is Giving Harm” campaign was developed jointly by China CDC, World Lung Foundation and the World Health Organization and aired nationally from December 2008 to February 2009.

The campaign consisted of a TV commercial broadcasted in various cities via TV and mobile media, and 200,000 posters of 3 designs posted in all provinces across the country.  The TV commercial alone has reached more than 258 million viewer times according to rating results and estimated number of public transport passengers.

 A pre-campaign baseline survey of 1,000 people was conducted in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Tianjin via street intercepts where respondents were selected randomly in city centers with high foot traffic. Campaign evaluation street intercepts were conducted in similar locations using the same sampling method in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Tianjin. Interviews were conducted by local departments responsible for tobacco control and respondents were asked about their perception of gift giving cigarettes, their recall of the campaign's message of giving harms, and their subsequent attitudes toward cigarette gift giving. Limitations in the methodology include a relatively small sample size for the given populations and potential sampling error which may under-represent people who are homebound and those who do not live or work in city centers. Additional bias could be introduced by interviewers who are tobacco control advocates and may pass by eligible but 'undesirable' respondents.

About National Tobacco Control Office, China CDC
The National Tobacco Control Office under China CDC the professional organization to conduct researches and provide advice on tobacco control in China. The organization is tasked to prevent the spread of tobacco epidemic in China through scientific researches and robust public education.