Human rights based approach to tobacco control as an effective tool for building strategic alliances and political will: experience from Bosnia and Herzegovina
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Association PROI, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A625
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Background and challenges to implementation:
Most countries in the world, including Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH), are parties to the human rights conventions which are relevant to health and well-being, therefore to tobacco control. Reconceptualization of tobacco control through human rights perspective enables a holistic approach which at the center places a wide range of socio-economic rights, consumers' rights, rights of children and women threatened by second-hand smoke, tobacco products' marketing and tobacco industry interferences.

Intervention or response:
This approach from 2015 is applied by Association PROI for advocating for a new comprehensive tobacco control policies in BIH and establishing of partnership with the stakeholders from different sectors besides public health. Using human rights language, the strong tobacco control message was sent to decision makers and the public through different channels and tools - trainings, public events, media releases and informational materials. This PROI's concept was supported and promoted by the European Union within European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights in BIH.

Results and lessons learnt:
The human rights framework helped to push the boundaries of tobacco control and broaden the access to a wider group than "traditional" tobacco control advocates. Thus, women groups, children rights groups, human rights organizations, youth NGOs, environmental groups, and Ombudsmen became active participants of tobacco control movement.
The framework provides a powerful channel for communication with decision makers on FCTC's regulations in the way which is more familiar to them than conventional public health messages. Therefore, a clear and strong message was generated to the government calling for a concrete action on the protection of people's rights to clean air and healthy environment, thereby fulfilling their international commitments. This considerably speeded up decision-making processes of adoption of comprehensive tobacco control policies.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
Human rights based approach in BiH confirmed itself as a powerful tool for tobacco control policy advocacy and for the establishment of effective broader partnerships.