Cigarette Smoking and Secondhand Smoke Exposure before and after a Tobacco-Free Olympic Policy Period: Qingdao, China

Jing Zhao, Xiaojing Li, Susan Le Roy Stewart, Weiguo Gao, Fei Qi, Lei Zhang, Zengchang Pang, Qing Qiao, Feng Ning, Elisa Tong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Introduction: We explored the impact of a temporary tobacco-free public policy for the 2008 Summer Olympics on the smoking prevalence and secondhand smoke exposure among the population of a co-hosting city, Qingdao, China. Methods: The Qingdao Diabetes Survey was analyzed for 2006 (n = 4599) and 2009 (n = 4680), which are survey years before and after the tobacco-free Olympics public policy period (July 2007 to January 2009). We analyzed the differences in self-reported smoking prevalence and exposure to secondhand smoke at home and/or workplace, and compared odds of smoking by survey year and of exposure to secondhand smoke among nonsmokers. Results: From 2006 to 2009, the male smoking prevalence declined from 51.4% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 49.0% to 53.9%) to 42.6% (95% CI = 40.2% to 45.1%), and the proportion of lighter smokers decreased more. Among nonsmokers, the secondhand smoke exposure rate declined from 62.2% (95% CI = 60.5% to 63.9%) to 56.8% (95% CI = 55.1% to 58.6%). Regression analyses show 34% lower odds of men smoking after Olympics (OR = 0.66, 95% CI = 0.57% to 0.77%). Rural residents and individuals who are not retired were more likely to smoke. Female nonsmokers report 17% less exposure to secondhand smoke after Olympics (OR = 0.83, 95% CI = 0.70% to 0.98%). Urban nonsmokers were more likely to be exposed than their rural counterparts. Conclusions: Smoking prevalence among men and secondhand smoke exposure among women significantly decreased in Qingdao, China, after the tobacco-free Olympics public policy period. As only the proportion of lighter smokers decreased, this may help explain why urban nonsmokers reported increased exposure. Unintended increased secondhand smoke exposure and cessation support need to be addressed in large-scale policy campaigns. Implications: Hosting the Olympic Games can help to initiate large-scale tobacco-free public policies for hosting cities. Although previous studies have demonstrated reduction in nonsmoker exposure to secondhand smoke, the impact on the hosting city's smoking prevalence or exposure rates is unclear. After the Olympic Games in Qingdao, China, smoking prevalence among men significantly decreased, mostly due to light smokers. Secondhand smoke exposure at home and/or workplace significantly decreased among female nonsmokers. Urban nonsmokers had an unintended consequence of increased secondhand smoke exposure after the tobacco-free Olympic policy period. Concurrent promotion of cessation support for heavier smokers may be needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1531-1538
Number of pages8
JournalNicotine and Tobacco Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Aug 29 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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