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Open Access

Health Promot Perspect. 2013;3(1): 102-112.
doi: 10.5681/hpp.2013.012
PMID: 24688958
PMCID: PMC3963681
  Abstract View: 1479
  PDF Download: 745

Original Research

Challenging Ties between State and Tobacco Industry: Advocacy Lessons from India

Upendra Bhojani*, Vidya Venkataraman, Bheemaray Manganawar
*Corresponding Author: Email: upendra@iphindia.org


Background: Globally, tobacco use is a major public health concern given its huge morbidity and mortality burden that is inequitably high in law- and middle-income countries. The World Health Or¬ganization has suggested banning the advertisement, promotion and sponsorship of to¬bacco. However, governments in some countries, including India, are ei¬ther directly engaged in tobacco industry oper¬ations or have a mandate to promote tobacco industry development. This paper analyses a short-term advocacy campaign that chal-lenged the state-tobacco industry ties to draw lessons for effective public health advocacy. Method: This paper uses a case study method to analyze advocacy efforts in India to thwart the state-tobacco industry partnership: the Indian gov-ernment’s sponsorship and support to a global tobacco industry event. The paper explores multiple strategies employed in the five-month advo¬cacy campaign (May to October 2010) to chal¬lenge this state-industry tie. In doing so, we describe the challenges faced and the lessons learnt for effective advo-cacy. Results: Government withdrew participation and financial sponsor¬ship from the tobacco industry event. Use of multiple strategies in¬cluding en¬gaging all concerned government agencies from the be¬ginning, strategic use of media, presence and mobilization of civil society, and use of legal tools to gain information and judicial action, were complementary in bringing desired outcomes. Conclusion: Use of multiple and complementary advocacy strate¬gies could lead to positive outcomes in a short-time campaign. The Framework Con-vention on Tobacco Control could form an impor¬tant advocacy tool, espe-cially in countries that have ratified it, to advocate for im¬provements in na-tional tobacco control regulations.
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Submitted: 29 Dec 2012
ePublished: 30 Jun 2013
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