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Nicotine Tob Res. 2019 Sep 19. pii: ntz177. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntz177. [Epub ahead of print]

Exceeding FCTC obligations: Nepal overcoming tobacco industry interference to enact a comprehensive tobacco control policy.

Author information

1
Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California, San Francisco, California USA.
2
Global Cancer Program, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, San Francisco, California USA.
3
Social and Behavioral Sciences Department, School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco.
4
School of Community Health Sciences, University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada USA.
5
Department of Medicine, Philip R Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California, San Francisco, California USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The tobacco industry works to block, delay and weaken national tobacco control legislation to implement the FCTC. This paper reviews how Nepal overcame industry opposition and to a comprehensive tobacco control law implementing the FCTC.

METHODS:

We triangulated newspaper articles and policy documents with key informant interviews.

RESULTS:

With the support of international health groups, local tobacco control advocates worked with policymakers in Nepal to pass a comprehensive tobacco control law that exceeded FCTC obligations. The tobacco industry exploited a time of political transition to block consideration by Parliament, arranged and sponsored foreign tours for legislators, made death threats to tobacco control advocates and their families, and argued for the economic importance of tobacco farms. Despite strong interference from Health, and Law and Justice ministers, a 2009 Supreme Court ruling helped tobacco control advocates secure a comprehensive tobacco control law in 2011 that included rotating pictorial health warning labels covering 75% of both sides of cigarette packages, 100% smoke free public places and workplaces, private homes and vehicles, and a tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship ban.

CONCLUSIONS:

Advocates in developing countries should utilize Nepal's experience to reject tobacco industry offers of compromise and continue educating politicians and legislators to generate political support to pass a comprehensive tobacco control law. Technical and financial support from international agencies, and effective collaboration and coordination of civil societies, and utilization of domestic litigation are helpful in LMICs where governance is weak.

IMPLICATIONS:

The tobacco industry exploited a time of political transition in Nepal in its effort to block comprehensive tobacco control policy in Parliament by sponsoring foreign tours of legislatures, making death threats to tobacco control advocates and their families, and arguing for the economic importance of tobacco farms. Tobacco control advocates used litigation to raise awareness and educate legislators, and promote strong legislation with the involvement of international health groups. Technical and financial support from international agencies, and effective collaboration and coordination of civil societies, and utilization of domestic litigation are helpful in LMICs where governance is weak.

PMID:
31535694
DOI:
10.1093/ntr/ntz177

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