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The Importance of Research in Tobacco Control Jeffrey Koplan, MD, MPH Emory Global Health Institute. China Tobacco Control Partnership
Introduction • There has been considerable success in decreasing tobacco use in western Europe, Canada, the USA, Australia and Hong Kong. • Research, largely in university, government and NGO units has played a major role in driving this success.
Previous Important Research Findings - I • Scientists in the US and UK established the causal link between tobacco and lung cancer in the 1950’s. • Since then there have been thousands of studies linking tobacco use with dozens of diseases and bad health outcomes.
Research Findings - II • The discovery and development of behavioral and pharmacologic aides to quit smoking. – Counselling – Hot lines – Medications – Nicotine replacement
Research Findings - III • Determining the hazards of environmental tobacco smoke. –Has permitted strong and widespread no-smoking policies
Research Findings - IV • Assessing the effects of price on cigarette smoking. – Price elasticity of -0. 8 – ( 10% increase in price leads to an 8% decrease in smoking prevalence) – Biggest impact on the poor and youth
Focus and Types of Research • Prevention • Protection • Cessation • Cross-cutting – E. g. changing the social norm – Research on the industry from fields to sale of finished product.
Focus and Types of Research Surveys – e. g. KAP Cohort or population studies Intervention studies Evaluation studies Qualitative studies - e. g. focus groups Laboratory studies – smoke components, nicotine / cotinine, etc. • Economic studies • Public policy studies • • •
Sites for studies • • • Communities Industry , Businesses Schools Government offices Restaurants, hotels Etc.
Some Research Questions for China • Is knowledge of and attitudes toward smoking changing – among smokers – among youth – among women? • How do we best convey the dangers of smoking to poor rural populations? – What’s the most effective message? – What’s the best way to deliver it? - How do we communicate the message about the health benefits of quiting?
More Research Questions • Are health warnings on packs effective? Which ones? • Are there less expensive cessation aides? • What is the interaction of tobacco smoke and industrial or cooking air pollution? • That is price elasticity in China and can tax increases be effective? • What does “smoke free” mean in practice?
Answers? • Who will answer these questions? • You and your colleagues and current and future students
Conclusions • Research has made a major contribution to lower tobacco use in many countries. • Many of the findings are undoubtedly applicable to LMIC and to China. Others may not be. • To achieve successful control and do it quicker requires an active academic research agenda.
Conclusion • In its absence, false paths will be taken with time, money and lives lost. • As the major cause of preventable death in China, it is a topic that merits academic inquiry. • This conference is meant to promote high quality academic research on tobacco use in China.