Geographical inequality in tobacco control in China: Multilevel evidence from 98 058 participants
Background: We investigated the spatial patterning and correlates of tobacco smoking, exposure to secondhand smoke, smoking in public places, workplace smoking prohibition, pro- and counter-tobacco advertisements in mainland China. Methods: Choropleth maps and multilevel models were used to assess geographical variation and correlates of the aforementioned outcome variables for 98 058 participants across 31 provinces of China in 2010. Results: Current tobacco smoking prevalence was higher in the central provinces for men and in the north eastern provinces and Tibet for women. Secondhand smoke was higher for both genders in Qinghai and Hunan provinces. Workplace tobacco restrictions was higher in the north and east, whereas smoking in public places was more common in the west, central, and far northeast. Prot obacco advertising was observed in public places more often by men (18.5%) than women (13.1%). Men (35.5%) were also more likely to sight counter-tobacco advertising in public places than women (30.1%). Awareness of workplace tobacco restrictions was more common in affluent urban areas. Lower awareness of workplace tobacco restrictions was in less affluent urban and rural areas. Sightings of tobacco smoking in public places was highest in restaurants (80.4% for men, 75.0% for women) and also commonly reported in less affluent urban and rural areas. Exposure to secondhand smoke was lower among women (but not men) where workplace tobacco restrictions was more common and higher regardless of gender in areas where smoking in public places was more commonly observed. Conclusions: Geographical and gender-sensitive targeting of tobacco prevention and control initiatives are warranted. Implications: This study demonstrates spatial patterning of China's 300 million smokers across the country that are different for men and women. Many of the factors that influence tobacco use, such as pro- and counter-advertising, also vary geographically. Workplace smoking restrictions are more commonly reported among individuals with higher educational attainment, but this not does appear to translate into reduced exposure to secondhand smoke. There is a need to intervene in other contexts, especially in restaurants and on public transport. Geographically targeted and gender-sensitive policy is required to advance effective tobacco control and prevention of noncommunicable diseases across all of China.