BADvertising-China was a loosly-knit but highly motivated group of students, colleagues, and friends. When they learned about my BADvertising work in the US they said "China has a terrible smoking problem...we have to do that here, too." Undaunted by the magnitude of the problem (China has more smokers than the US has people), we began raising awareness of the tobacco issues and promoting healthy smokefree attitudes, behaviors, and environments.
In 2006 we became an officially sanctioned organization called Green Breathing, sponsored by Xiamen University. Our mission: bring Smokefree Air to China. We conduced awareness-raising events on campus and around the City of Xiamen. Our Smokefree Marathon Campaign, declaring the Xiamen International Marathon route a Smokefree Zone in order to protect the runners and the spectators from Secondhand Smoke gained international attention.
Green Breathing received a lot of media coverage and achieved great success in raising awareness (when people spotted us on the streets of Xiamen, they would give us an enthusiastic and appreciative thumbs-up, and the smokers would hide their cigarettes), but we made less than a dent on public policy. That had to come from the top down.
How can we all continue to help China go smokefree? Tobacco is 10% of the Chinese economy. And it's all about the economy!
When they see that tobacco is costing them more than it's bringing in, they will move forward. We can hasten their seeing by letting them know that
* we won't travel there,
* or bring our business there,
When they see what they're losing by not being smokefree, things will change.
While my work calls me back to the US for now, a large part of my Heart will remain in China forever. And my concern for people's health continues...
If you are Chinese, I hope you will help by answering a few questions:
If you're a smoker, why did you start smoking?
If you're a non-smoker, why do you choose not to smoke?
If you're a former smoker, why did you start smoking?
Your responses can be very helpful to others.
Everyone. What can you say to encourage others not to smoke?
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© 1995, 2000, 2005 Bonnie Vierthaler