Hospital-based tobacco dependence treatment training in China

Building Tobacco Treatment Capacity in Medical Universities and Affiliated Hospitals in China, a Global Bridges project conducted by the Center for Tobacco Control Research at the Zhejiang University School of Medicine, built capacity for hospital-based tobacco dependence treatment training and dissemination of supporting materials.

The project stemmed from a need to identify suitable quitting methods for the Chinese populations beyond cessation clinics and hotlines established through the government’s tobacco control programs, which were underutilized due to embarrassment, social mores and smokers simply wishing to believe in their will rather than using professional assistance. A more promising alternative was to introduce smoking cessation treatment during routine care at medical centers and community setting – placing the program into general care rather than specialized.

Tingzhong Yang is the principal investigator of the project, and with Saul Shiffman together designed a tailored treatment program. Shuhan Jiang is in charge of implementing it within 10 university-affiliated hospitals providing routine clinical care.

“Health professionals play a critical role by providing services, advocating for policies and serving as role models for social change,” said Tingzhong Yang. “It was important to first raise physicians’ awareness of the significance of smoking cessation. These trainings helped build their treatment knowledge, skills and behavioral capacity.”

At the end of the project in December 2016, 50 medical universities – approximately 25,000, medical students and 250 instructors – had been trained with culturally-relevant materials. In addition to implementing the project, the team secured media attention from more than 21 news agencies and published the Global Health Professions Student Survey (GHPSS) in Tobacco Control in China.

“We take every chance to advocate for smoking cessation with all available resources, whether it is sharing our experience during relevant conferences, adding smoking cessation skills into a national standard textbook or participating in tobacco control legislation,” said Shuhan Jiang.

Project results have been presented at a National Building Tobacco Dependence Treatment Capacity workshop at Zhejiang University and a seminar on enacting legislation on tobacco control in public places organized by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Chinese Association on Tobacco Control in Shanghai. Plans for future presentations include meetings such as the Global Alliance Against Chronic Respiratory Diseases and the Eastern China Tobacco Control Training Program.

View the project poster presented during the 2016 Global Tobacco Dependence Treatment Summit.