UCLA researcher initiates successful crop substitution project in tobacco-rich China
In China, 350 million people smoke. Each year, 1 million die from smoking. Many more become disabled. Approximately 20 million Chinese farmers produce the world’s largest share of tobacco, nearly 40 percent of the global supply.
What is the key to cutting the number of deaths and smoking-related health problems? Convince Chinese farmers to grow some other crop.
Virginia Li, a professor of community health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, set out to do just that. She contacted local Chinese agriculture officials in Yunnan Province, where Asia’s largest cigarette manufacturer is located. Li and her local partners designed a tobacco crop–substitution project, the core of which is a farmer-led, for-profit enterprise. (more…)