Collaboration between government and civil society: engaging the public in the implementation of Beijing's smoke-free law through integrated communications efforts
Xi Yin 1
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Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, United States of America
Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (China Office), China
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A611
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Background and challenges to implementation:
The Beijing Smoking Control Regulation was adopted in November 2014 and took effect in June 2015. The Regulations includes a provision requiring all indoor public places, work places and public transports to be smoke-free. Lawmakers were concerned that the law may be overly restrictive and difficult to enforce due to a variety of reasons, such as a small enforcement team, a large population (21 million), low awareness of smoking harms, the deeply rooted “smoking culture”, etc.

Intervention or response:
Civil society organizations and the government designed and implemented innovative and integrated communications strategies composed of a variety of tactics and materials to raise public awareness of the law and maximize compliance. These tactics and materials were delivered through a combination of traditional media, social media, community outreach, and other formats and channels. Examples included a “No Smoking” gesture campaign, a high-profile launch event at Beijing's iconic building, the Bird Nest, a smoke-free Beijing song and accompanying square dance, posters and postcards featuring celebrities, count-down events, TV and radio programs, production and dissemination of a short video on social media, A Letter to the Beijing Resident, a “Thank You for Not Smoking” campaign, among others.

Results and lessons learnt:
Public knowledge of the law reached 81.3% in the first 3 months since the law took effect, public support for the law reached 93.83% and the compliance rate was 71% after 1 year since the implementation. With their respective unique advantages, the government and civil society groups worked closely to reach Beijing residents broadly and effectively.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
The effective communications as a result of the collaboration between government and NGOs in Beijing was a key in achieving relatively high compliance rate in a short period of time. This model can be applied to other cities and in other tobacco control or public health policies.

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