News Release: Research, School of Public Health

Jan. 12,  2009

Emory University Receives $14 Million Gates Foundation Grant to Reduce Tobacco Use in China

News Article ImageJeffrey Koplan, MD, MPH

Emory University has received a $14 million, five-year grant from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help reduce the burden of tobacco use in China. The Emory Global Health Institute, in collaboration with the Tobacco Technical Assistance Consortium (TTAC) of Emory's Rollins School of Public Health, will establish the Emory Global Health Institute -- China Tobacco Partnership.

The Emory Global Health Institute will manage the partnership, which will collaborate with public health leaders in China to promote evidence-based approaches to reducing tobacco use that are tailored to the culture and circumstances of individual cities and provinces in China.  The Emory Global Health Institute will also provide funding and support to establish national tobacco control resource centers in China.

"This grant will allow Emory to combine its significant public health expertise with that of health and government leaders in China to address a major international public health challenge," says Fred Sanfilippo, MD, PhD, Emory executive vice president for health affairs.

"Tobacco is the largest cause of preventable deaths globally and China has the most smokers in the world. There is a huge opportunity in this project to have a major impact on global health," says Jeffrey Koplan, MD, MPH, Emory vice president for global health and director of the Emory Global Health Institute.

Koplan will serve as principal investigator of the grant and will lead the partnership along with Pamela Redmon, MPH, executive director of TTAC, a nationally recognized tobacco control leader and technical assistance provider in the United States.

Co-principal investigators for the partnership will be Kathy Miner, PhD, MPH, associate dean of applied public health at Emory's Rollins School of Public Health and principal investigator of TTAC and Michael Eriksen, ScD, a noted expert in national and global tobacco control efforts and director of the Institute of Public Health at Georgia State University. 

Nearly two-thirds of the world's smokers live in 10 countries, with China having the highest tobacco use prevalence by far, according to the World Health Organization (WHO, 2008). Also according to WHO (2003), there are more smokers in China than there are people living in the United States. In China, two-thirds of men are smokers, and it is estimated that 100 million tobacco-related deaths will occur among people currently age 0-29 if tobacco prevention and control efforts are not implemented (Leming, et. al, Health VII Project, 2004).

Not only does China have the largest population of smokers, it also is the chief producer of tobacco products in the world. The national tobacco monopoly is the leading manufacturer and seller of cigarettes, earning billions in tobacco profits and excise tax revenues (WHO, 2003).

According to research reported recently in the New England Journal of Medicine (Gu, et. al, Jan. 8, 2009), tobacco smoking was responsible for about 673,000 premature deaths in Chinese adults age 40 or older in 2005.

The Emory Global Health Institute -- China Tobacco Partnership will support the development of effective, accountable and sustainable tobacco prevention and control initiatives that address China's unique needs and challenges.  The program will be able to quickly and efficiently identify and mobilize global resources to assist China in reducing tobacco use.

The Emory Global Health Institute was established to advance Emory University's efforts to improve health around the world through the creation of innovative global health programs. The TTAC, a trusted partner and collaborator with national tobacco control organizations, has developed and delivered training and assistance to all 50 states and the U.S. territories.

The Emory Global Health Institute -- China Tobacco Partnership will coordinate and collaborate with the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CCD) Office on Smoking and Health. The program's advisory board will include representatives from Emory, Georgia State, ACS and CDC.

For more information about the Emory Global Health Institute, see


The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. Its components include schools of medicine, nursing, and public health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; the Emory Winship Cancer Institute; and Emory Healthcare, the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia. The Woodruff Health Sciences Center has a $2.3 billion budget, 17,000 employees, 2,300 full-time and 1,900 affiliated faculty, 4,300 students and trainees, and a $4.9 billion economic impact on metro Atlanta.

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