Smoke-free Policies

Smoke-free Policies


Session Leader: Mark Travers
Research Assistant Professor
Department of Community Health and Health Behavior
Roswell Park Cancer Institute

Travers: Smokefree Air Resources

Bio: Mark Travers is a Research Scientist in the Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences and Director of the Aerosol Pollution Exposure Research Laboratory at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Dr. Travers has degrees in biomedical engineering and epidemiology.  His primary research focus is providing the scientific basis for smoke-free air policies by researching exposure to tobacco smoke pollution and evaluating the effects of smoke-free air policies. He has conducted the largest study of tobacco smoke pollution exposure in the hospitality industry and his research has been featured in debates over smoke-free air legislation in dozens of communities. His goal is to eliminate cancer and other adverse health effects caused by air pollution exposure and he works on a wide range of research projects measuring exposure to air pollution in developed and developing countries around the world.

Qiang Li, Ph.D.,
Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo,
Tobacco Control Office, Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Presentation Background: Progress in smoke-free environment in China
China is the largest producer and consumer of tobacco in the world: about one third of the world’s smokers live in China, and over half of Chinese adult males smoke cigarettes. Although China ratified the FCTC in 2005, Chinese people are not protected by a comprehensive smoke-free law. According to GATS, 740 million Chinese non-smokers are exposed to secondhand smoke at least weekly. Smoke-free initiatives were adopted in the Chinese cities participating in the 2008 Olympics (Beijing and Shenyang revised their policies prior to the Games). However, ITC survey data suggest that the long-term effects were very limited and much less than those of Western countries where there was effective enforcement. China is taking steps toward more comprehensive smoke-free policies. The Ministry of Health recently released a regulation that comprehensively bans smoking in 28 public places. However, the law does not include details on penalties and enforcement, and it is still unclear what effect it will have on smoking rates. With the support from the Bloomberg Initiative, several cities in China are working on smoke-free legislation. The city of Haerbin recently passed a relatively comprehensive smoke-free law, which will take effect on May 31. If the new law is well enforced, it will show that smoke-free legislation is feasible in China.

Bio: Dr. Li has worked in the field of tobacco control since 2000. His major research interest is monitoring tobacco use and prevention policies. For the past four years, Dr. Li has worked in the Department of Psychology at the University of Waterloo. He is currently the Director of the Department of Surveillance in the Tobacco Control Office, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Li is also the Project Manager for the ITC Project in China. He has also participated in the Global Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Survey.

Jim F. Thrasher, PhD, MA, MS 
Assistant Professor
Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior
Arnold School of Public Health
University of South Carolina

Additional Thrasher Resources

Presentation Background: Some low- and middle-income countries have experienced difficulties with effective enforcement and compliance with smoke-free policies. This presentation will present a case study of smoke-free policy adoption and implementation in Mexico City in order to understand how compliance is associated with perceptions of the fairness of smoke-free policies and of the fairness of the authorities charged with implementing them. The presentation will address tobacco industry efforts to undermine smoke-free policy; mass media coverage of smoke-free policy compliance; media campaigns to promote the policy, including perceptions of its fairness; smokers’ and nonsmokers’ perceptions of the fairness of smoke-free policy before and after its implementations; and the relationship between compliance and perceived fairness in the post-implementation period. The implications of this case study for future research, advocacy, and policy development will be discussed.

Bio: Jim Thrasher is an anthropologist and public health communication expert who is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Promotion, Education and Behavior at the University of South Carolina, USA, and a Researcher and Visiting Professor at the Mexican National Institute of Public Health. His research aims to better understand how policy and media can be used to meet domestic and global public health challenges, particularly in the area of tobacco control. This focus aims to illuminate which communication and policy intervention strategies are effective across socio-cultural settings, as well as to determine why some strategies are more effective than others. Most of his current research involves examining factors associated with the adoption and effective implementation of smoke-free policies; determining the characteristics of pictorial health warning labels that are most likely to have a broad, public health impact while addressing smoking-related disparities; and exploring the influence of entertainment media on youth smoking and policy development to address this issue.

Prof. Marc C. Willemsen, PhD
Research Coordinator, STIVORO

Bio: Prof. Marc C. Willemsen, PhD, research coordinator at STIVORO, the Dutch expert centre on Tobacco Control. He has an MA in Psychology and a PhD in Public Health. From May 2010, Marc Willemsen holds an endowed professorship in Tobacco Control Research at the School for Public Health and Primary Care (CAPHRI), Department of Health Promotion, Maastricht University. He has conducted various studies in the field of tobacco control and has publicized on various tobacco control topics, including harm reduction, genetic aspects of smoking, the efficacy of cessation methods, computer tailoring as a cessation aid, smoking prevention programs for adolescents, and determinants of smoking onset and smoking cessation. He is co-editor of a comprehensive textbook on tobacco control for Dutch medical professionals and was active as an expert in the development of the Dutch clinical guidelines for smoking cessation. He is one of the coordinators of a Dutch Knowledge Centre on implementation of tobacco cessation interventions for the medical profession and was principal investigator in the ESCHER project (European Smoking Cessation Helplines Evaluation Research). He is the principal investigator of the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Netherlands evaluation study.
His current scientific interests focus on the psychological and public health aspects of tobacco use and on determinants of the implementation of  tobacco control interventions in populations.

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