Yesterday at the World Congress of Cardiology & Cardiovascular Health, Eduardo Bianco from the Framework Convention Alliance presented the World Heart Federation’s CVD Roadmap on Tobacco Control.
The CVD Roadmap is a tool for prioritizing actions for reducing prevalence of tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure by implementing the global tobacco control treaty (WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control).
Four panel discussions took place at the seesion, during which representatives of the WHO, along with government and civil society leaders, discussed each of the main roadblocks (or barriers) for comprehensive implementation of the treaty in Latin America, and strategies for addressing them. Some of the key points from these panel discussions are highlighted below:
Financial panel discussion key points
• Lack of domestic investment in tobacco control results in government dependence on international philanthropic sources for technical capacity in tobacco control.
• Increasing tobacco tax and earmarking funding for tobacco control is a good solution. For example, Panama has earmarked tobacco tax funding for tobacco control but few countries of the region have adequate tobacco taxation. Argentina shows promise and has just increased tobacco taxes by 50%.
• Protection of revenues is now a priority when taxes rise: strengthening of monitoring and protection from tobacco industry interference.
Technical panel discussion key points
• Latin America has strong technical capacity but the region needs new talent and stable funding to sustain it.
• Capacity is diluted by many other priorities, including the broader NCD agenda which has added new responsibility for many of those working in tobacco control.
Intersectoral coordination key points
• Tobacco control is not just a health issue: it has economic and social elements that can only be achieved by collaboration with other sectors such as ministries of finance, agriculture and trade.
• The elements required for creating effective national coordinating mechanisms for tobacco control are: commitment of highest levels of government, involvement of high-level of representation from different ministries and involvement of civil society.
Political will key points
• Three of the four common NCD risk factors involve strong private sector interests, and taking them on carries risks for a political career. Commitment, alliances with other sectors and partnership with civil society are critical to prevailing.
• It is crucial that tobacco control is framed as a development issue.
Dr Bianco then went on to outline the Framework Convention Alliance Strategy, as follows:
1. Framing tobacco control as a development issue and setting tobacco taxation as an indicator for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
2. Strengthening the role of the FCTC Conference of the Parties in supporting FCTC implementation.