Objective To examine levels of support for comprehensive smoke-free policies in six large Chinese cities.
Methods Data from Wave 1 of the International Tobacco Control (ITC) China Survey (April–August 2006) were analysed. The ITC China Survey employed a multistage sampling design in Beijing, Shenyang, Shanghai, Changsha, Guangzhou and Yinchuan (none of which has comprehensive smoke-free policies in place). Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 4815 smokers and 1270 non-smokers. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to identify factors associated with support for comprehensive smoke-free policies.
Results About one in two Chinese urban smokers and four in five non-smokers believed that secondhand smoke (SHS) causes lung cancer. The majority of respondents supported comprehensive smoke-free policies in hospitals, schools and public transport vehicles while support for smoke-free workplaces, restaurants and bars was lower. Levels of support were generally comparable between smokers and non-smokers. Support for comprehensive smoke-free policies was positively associated with knowledge about the harm of SHS. Respondents who worked in a smoke-free worksite or who frequented smoke-free indoor entertainment places were more likely to support comprehensive smoking restriction in bars and restaurants.
Conclusion Considerable support for smoke-free policies exists in these six large cities in China. Greater public education about the dangers of SHS may further increase support. Experiencing the benefits of smoke-free indoor entertainment places and/or workplaces increases support for these policies and suggests that some initial smoke-free policy implementation may hasten the diffusion of these public health policies.
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Funding The ITC China Project was supported by grants from the US National Cancer Institute (R01 CA125116 and the Roswell Park Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center (P50 CA111236)), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (79551), Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and oeer review: Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.