Enforcement agencies and smoke-free policy compliance: An observational study in Qingdao, China

Connie Hoe, Hanaa Ahsan, Xuejuan Ning, Xiaojing Wang, Dafei Li, Kathy Wright, Ryan D. Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION In recent years, tobacco control policy initiatives have emerged at the subnational level in China. In 2013, for example, Qingdao enacted a 100% smoke-free policy that gave regulatory authority to multiple enforcement agencies. Given that little is known about the extent of smoke-free policy compliance in smaller Chinese cities, this study assessed compliance with Qingdao’s Tobacco Control Regulation and whether compliance differed by enforcement agency. METHODS A cross-sectional observational study was undertaken between October and November 2018. Venues were selected based on enforcement agency and included restaurants, retail stores, schools, government buildings, hospitals, business offices, and other hospitality venues. Comprehensive lists of venues were identified where they existed, and a random sample of venues were subsequently selected. For venue categories for which there were no comprehensive lists, a walking protocol was used. Observational data included evidence of smoking, the presence of no-smoking signage, and designated smoking areas (DSAs). Descriptive statistics were obtained. Subsequently, logistic regression models were used to determine the association between enforcement agency and policy compliance. RESULTS A total of 694 venues were observed. For all venue types, 64.7% were compliant with the composite indicator ‘evidence of smoking’. Findings also showed that smoke-free compliance varied by enforcement agency (p<0.001). Venues with evidence of smoking and not posting of no-smoking signs at the main entrance were lowest among venues that fall under Public Security Bureau. Compliance with posting no-smoking signs inside was lowest in venues that fall under the Industry and Commercial Administration (I&C). While Qingdao’s smoke-free policy prohibits DSAs, our findings showed that 2% of venues that fall under the jurisdiction of I&C had DSAs. CONCLUSIONS An effective coordination mechanism that can ensure a consistent and standardized approach is urgently needed in Qingdao. With such a concerted effort, it will be possible to achieve the target of 100% smoke-free indoor places in Qingdao.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number26
JournalTobacco Induced Diseases
StatePublished - 2021


  • China
  • Compliance
  • Enforcement
  • Smoke-free policy
  • Tobacco control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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