Physicians' role in advancing tobacco control in China

Thorac Cancer. 2010 May;1(1):17-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1759-7714.2010.00002.x. Epub 2010 Apr 8.


China has ratified the FCTC and is working towards implementing tobacco control measures to combat the massive health and economic consequences of tobacco use. Physicians will need to play a leading role in this fight as they have done in countries such as Australia where measures to address the tobacco epidemic are more advanced. At present in China barriers such as physicians' own smoking status and underestimation of the impact interventions with their patients can have means that their potentially positive contribution is far from realised. Physicians have a responsibility to lead in tobacco control. This should begin with their own behaviour and practices including quitting smoking if a smoker and counselling patients and families of patients to not smoke. Advocating to make hospitals and medical facilities smokefree should also be a priority for physicians. As centres where people attend to improve their health and receive treatment for illness, allowing a practice such as smoking is completely incongruous. Responsibility also rests with the facilities in which physicians work and the professional bodies who represent them, physicians should be provided with information, training and support to assist them to address their own and their patients tobacco use.

Keywords: FCTC; physicians; smoking; tobacco; tobacco control.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • China / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Physician's Role / psychology*
  • Tobacco Use Cessation / methods*