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Tobacco smoking among government employees in six cities in China
  1. Neil Mehta1,
  2. Chen Zhang2,
  3. Xinwei Hua2,
  4. Pamela Redmon3,
  5. Michael Eriksen3,
  6. Jeffrey Koplan2,
  7. Mohammed Ali1
  1. 1Hubert Department of Global Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  2. 2Global Health Institute, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  3. 3School of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Neil Mehta, Hubert Department of Global Health, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Road, Room 7035, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA; nkmehta{at}


Objective Employer-based tobacco control interventions have been highly successful in developed countries, and, recently, Chinese officials announced a focus on quitting among government employees. However, there are few data offering estimates of smoking prevalence among government workers from developing nations. In this study, we investigate smoking behaviours among government workers in six Chinese cities stratified by educational attainment and occupational grade.

Design Individual-level study of Chinese government employees.

Data sources Tobacco-Free Cities Initiative of China Tobacco Control Partnership.

Analysis Employed adults aged 18–61 at government worksites in six cities were included (N=6176). Prevalence of current and former smoking across educational (postgraduate, graduate, high school, secondary school or less) and occupational (senior executives, mid-level managers, workers) groups were compared.

Results Overall prevalence of male current smoking was 40.7% (95% CI 39.1% to 42.4%). Age-adjusted smoking prevalence was lowest among those with a postgraduate degree (26.2% (95% CI 21.0% to 31.4%)) compared with those with lower levels of education (college (39.8%; 37.7% to 41.8%); high school (51.0%; 95% CI 45.0% to 57.0%); secondary or less (45.1%; 95% CI 40.3% to 49.8%)). There was no evidence of an association between current smoking and occupational grade. Prevalence of smoking was low in women (1.5%).

Conclusions Smoking prevalence among male government employees at all levels of education was high and patterned by educational attainment. Government initiatives to address tobacco control among employees should consider targeted interventions for different educational levels.


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