Exposing the inconvenient truth of tobacco in China: a nationwide exhibition of graphic pack warnings
Yu Xie 1
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ThinkTank Research Center for Health Development, China
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A763
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Background and challenges to implementation:
Implementation of FCTC in China has been slow, especially pack warning. After three upgrades, China's current pack warnings are still limited to only generic health impact text with no graphs. The major opposition comes from China's tobacco industry, which is itself also a government agency in charge of policies regarding labelling. This is the inconvenient truth of China's tobacco control work. The Chinese public need to see the distances and differences between China's cigarette packing and other's countries', China's FCTC commitment on graphic warnings, and more importantly, this inconvenient truth. Considering China's size, this work can only be done with massive public support via an effective volunteer network.

Intervention or response:
ThinkTank Research Centre for Health Development launched an exhibition of pack warnings from different countries. The exhibition went onto a nationwide tour to educate the public about China's weak implementation of this FCTC commitment, as well as tobacco industry's interference. This nationwide network combined both government agencies, the China Centre for Disease Control, and volunteers, who could download a tool kit for local satellite exhibitions. The offline physical and online virtual exhibitions reached more public.

Results and lessons learnt:
The tour exhibition has reached China's 31 mainland provinces, receiving over 500 million direct visitors. More than 300 core volunteers have downloaded the tool kits, produced their own exhibitions, and run regular local tobacco control activities. This public momentum resulted in 12 label-related proposals by legislators and congress members at China's annual congress conferences.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
Tobacco control work goes beyond policy makers, especially when one of the policy makers is in fact the tobacco industry. It is important to mobilize volunteers that include real smokers, real SHS victims, smoke-free champions. Their call for stronger pack warnings, as well as other MPOWER policies, will send strong signal to policy makers.