Monitoring and exposing tobacco industry tactics around Conference of Parties (COP 7)
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Voluntary Health Association of India, India
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A667
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Background and challenges to implementation:
Section 5.3 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) does not allow any kind of promotion of tobacco products or its use. Article 5.3 of WHO-FCTC requires parties to protect the development and implementation of public health policies related to tobacco control from the commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry. India hosted the Seventh Session of the Conference of Parties (COP) of the WHO-Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in Delhi NCR (Greater Noida) from 7th to 12th November, 2016. In light of this, one of the front group of tobacco industry put huge billboards/hoardings and advertisements behind public transport showing agitation against COP 7 and tobacco control organisations working in India. This front group purported to represent the interests of the tobacco farmers in India was denied observer status by the FCTC Bureau due to its failure to submit a proper declaration of its interest.

Intervention or response:
We took this issue immediately and documented the photographs of these bill boards/hoardings and the advertisements. A representation along with these photographs was shared with the district administration of the place, where the COP 7 event was taking place. We brought to the notice that displaying the promotional materials by the tobacco industry is a clear violation of WHO-FCTC treaty and requested the administration to take immediate action to ensure that these hoardings and billboards are removed.

Results and lessons learnt:
The media covered the violations done by the tobacco industry extensively, exposed the tactics of the tobacco industry and further action was being taken up.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
If we are to influence tobacco usage in the country and dissuade initiation, continuous monitoring and sensitization is required to counter the tobacco industry tactics and emerge victorious.