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To mark World No-Tobacco Day on 31 May, the School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, Maryland, United States, launched the Johns Hopkins Institute for Global Tobacco Control. The institute will offer information to physicians and health officials around the world about tobacco’s harmful health effects and how to control them, and will also help countries to identify the magnitude of their smoking problem and then develop effective policies for reducing rates of tobacco-related disease and death.
The new institute is being partly sponsored by SmithKline Beecham Consumer Healthcare, which makes smoking cessation products, and is led by Dr Jonathan Samet, chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. Samet, an experienced researcher regarding the harmful effects of smoking, has collaborated with SmithKline Beecham in carrying out China’s third national survey on smoking, whose results were presented at the 10th World Conference on Smoking or Health in Beijing in August 1997. The Beijing conference saw a consultation process with tobacco control experts from around the world, resulting in a report identifying key research requirements and goals for effective tobacco (see Samet JM, Taylor CE, Becker KM,et al. Research for effective global tobacco control in the 21st century: report of a working group convened during the 10th World Conference on Tobacco or Health. Tobacco Control1997;6:72–7).
In addition to the institute, SmithKline Beecham and Johns Hopkins are sponsoring ongoing research studies that are yielding a detailed characterisation of smoking in China, and the initiative will be expanded to other countries starting this year. Over the next three years, the institute will use seminars and research studies to inform policy makers about approaches to tobacco control.