Tobacco Smoking, Quitting, and Relapsing Among Adult Males in Mainland China: The China Seven Cities Study

Document Type



Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



Health Psychology | International Public Health | Mental and Social Health | Public Health Education and Promotion | Substance Abuse and Addiction


Introduction: Despite an estimated 1 million tobacco-related deaths annually in China, public health officials face overwhelming barriers to implementing effective tobacco control policies and programs. Models of effective tobacco control can be adapted for Chinese tobacco use and culture based on reliable and valid data regarding predictors of smoking and abstaining.

Methods: As part of the China Seven Cities Study to assess the role of rapid social, economic, and cultural change on tobacco use and related health practices and outcomes, 4,072 adult male smokers provided data in 3 annual waves. Measures included current smoking, nicotine dependence, readiness for quitting, perceived stress, hostility, depressive symptoms, as well as covariates (e.g., age, marital status, educational attainment, and family income).

Results: Odds of being abstinent at Wave 3 were increased by: lower nicotine dependence at Wave 1 and becoming less dependent between Waves 1 and 3; progressing beyond the contemplation stage between Waves 1 and 3; perceiving less stress, whether initially at Wave 1 or over time from Wave 1 to Wave 3; and lower hostility scores at Wave 1 and decreased hostility from Wave 1 to Wave 3. Among those who quit, odds of remaining abstinent rather than relapsing by Wave 3 were higher among those who were less dependent at Wave 1 and who became less dependent from Wave 1 to Wave 3; and those who showed decreases in hostility from Wave 1 to Wave 3.

Conclusions: The public health challenge posed by very high prevalence of male smoking in China can be met by policies and programs that lead to successful long-term cessation. This can only be done successfully by designing interventions based on knowledge of the country’s smokers and the current study suggests several elements.

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© 2012 Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco