USC’s Institute for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention Research (IPR) hosted an international conference on Transcultural Perspectives on Tobacco Use and Health Promotion on April 23 and 24.
More than 100 scholars and public health officials from the U.S., China and Canada attended the invitational conference, which was held at the Alhambra office campus, said C. Anderson Johnson, director of the institute.
Scientific presentations centered on cultural, environmental, biological and genetic factors relevant to tobacco use, prevention and cessation among Pacific Rim populations, focusing especially on Asian Americans and mainland Chinese. Additional sessions addressed the growing problems of drug abuse, HIV, obesity and diabetes in China that have come with increased westernization.
Studies have shown that smoking-related diseases are epidemic in China. Sixty-three percent of males smoke in China, according to the World Health Organization’s 1997 “Tobacco or Health: Global Status Report,” and 100 million Chinese males alive today will die prematurely from smoking.
Participants in the conference included Liming Lee, director of the newly established Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention; as well as public health officials from seven of China’s largest cities—Chengdu, Harbin, Hangzhou, Kunming, Qingdao, Shenyang and Wuhan.
The conference was part of the first U.S. gathering of leaders of the China Seven Cities Study (CSCS), a longitudinal study of the impact of rapid economic and cultural changes on health outcomes in China and potentially the largest community-based tobacco-use prevention and cessation trial ever carried out in Asia.
The CSCS is a collaborative effort among local CDC and municipal officials in the seven Chinese cities taking part in the conference and a consortium of U.S. and Chinese institutions, including cooperation from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing.
Led by Johnson, the CSCS is the outgrowth of studies conducted by researchers at IPR and its Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center that have been underway in Wuhan, China, since 1997.