Monitoring and countering of tobacco industry efforts to undermine tobacco control laws and policies in 10 countries
ATCA developed a tobacco industry monitoring programme to protect tobacco control policies from the commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry in accordance with Article 5.3 of the WHO FCTC. It conducted a regional training workshop in October 2013 to increase the capacity of CSOs and journalists from 10 countries to monitor, counter and expose TI interference. Following the workshop, participants set up national Tobacco Industry Monitoring teams (TIM Teams) as a watchdog against tobacco industry interference. A total of seven TIM Teams have been set up in the following countries: Benin, Cameroon, Congo Brazzaville, Gabon, Gambia, Senegal and Uganda. These TIM Teams monitor the activities of the tobacco industry by collecting information from various quarters, including newspapers, reports from the tobacco industry and contact persons in key sectors. The tactics or interference of the tobacco industry tactics are then exposed to the public, media and policy-makers and influencers through press briefings or conferences, face-to-face meetings, internet and social media.
Below are some examples of campaigns carried out against the tobacco industry in the different countries where TIM Teams have been set up:
– In Senegal, continuous monitoring and discrediting contributed in the adoption of the strong and comprehensive national tobacco control law No. 2014-14 of 14th March 2014, which also prohibits all forms of interference of the industry in the development of health policies in Senegal.
– In Uganda, the TIM Team contributed in the issuance of the Certificate of Financial Implications which paved the way for the bill to receive its first reading in Parliament on 6th March 2014.
– Again in Uganda, the TIM team with the technical support from WHO and CTCA successfully lobbied to adopt a 45.5 % tax increase on economic cigarette brands.
– In Benin, the draft tobacco control bill has successfully gone through a number of difficult and important stages and is now awaiting adoption, despite the continuous attempts of the tobacco industry to derail the process;
– In Cameroon, a letter was sent to the Prime Minister denouncing the violation of law N°. 2006/018 of 29 December, 2006 governing tobacco advertising in Cameroon. Again in June 2014, a letter of protest against the cultivation of tobacco in Cameroon was sent to the Prime Minister.
– In Gabon, the TIM Team succeeded in advocating at the highest level of government to retain and adopt the draft bill initiated by the government and reject the one introduced by the tobacco industry.
Togo, through the technical assistance programme of ATCA, successfully advocated for the adoption of a decree that protects public health and tobacco control policies from the commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry. The decree is binding on all public officers that directly or indirectly contribute or could contribute to the formulation, implementation, administration, enforcement or monitoring of public health policies with respect to tobacco control.
THE NAIROBI DECLARATION ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE WHO FCTC IN THE WHO AFRICAN REGION (2015).
The Declaration requests African Member States:
To develop, strengthen and enforce comprehensive tobacco control policies, legislation and regulations that fully incorporate the obligations of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and its guidelines.