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China is the epicenter of the global tobacco epidemic with over 300 million smokers. Approximately one million smokers in China die annually from diseases caused by smoking, and it is estimated this number will reach over two million by 2020. There are over 160 cities in China, each with a population exceeding one million residents, and cities have a unique opportunity and role to play in leading tobacco control with the potential to impact the health of millions of smokers and non-smokers in the country.

Built upon the successful experience of the China Tobacco Control Partnership’s Tobacco-Free Cities initiative in 17 cities in China (2009-2013), the Georgia State University School of Public Health – China Tobacco Control Partnership launched the program in 5 additional cities in 2015 – Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuhan, Xiamen and Xi’an. The initiative seeks to change social norms around tobacco use and to reduce the burden of tobacco use in these 5 large and influential cities with combined population of almost 70 million.

The Tobacco-Free Cities initiative supports the development of effective, accountable, and sustainable tobacco prevention and control initiatives in these cities in order to achieve the following goals:

  • Protecting non-smokers from exposure to secondhand smoke,
  • Preventing the initiation of smoking
  • Promoting cessation among current smokers.

In collaboration with the China-based non-governmental organization, the Think Tank Research Center for Health Development, the China Tobacco Control Partnership supports these cities to establish successful and sustainable tobacco control programs. Together, they build the capacity of cities in tobacco control through training in evidenced-based, best practices methods and programming, and technical assistance addressing the unique needs of each city.