Countering tobacco industry interference: role of civil society
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Action Nepal (Nepal), Admin/Finance, Nepal
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A459
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Background and challenges to implementation:
Tobacco is one of the major public health challenge in Nepal. It kills more than 15000 people each year. To combat this epidemic, Nepal has adopted a comprehensive tobacco control law in 2011 with provision of 90% pictorial health warning(PHW) in directives. Enforcement of 90% PHW was not optimum. Tobacco Industry (TI) interference was at the highest level in decision making. There was sustained lobbying from US Chamber of Commerce and Phillip Morris International.TI litigation was at the Supreme Court of Nepal.

Intervention or response:
To implement 90% PHW we carried out different techniques such as i) diagnose and document tobacco industry interference with policy maker ii) organize round table discussion iii) one to one meeting with government official iv) conduct a survey on effectiveness of the PHW. More importantly, we,Action Nepal, had registered the case in Supreme Court against the government for immediate enforcement of 90% PHW. We seriously urged to Supreme Court against the tobacco interference and its implication on health of general public. Eventually, Supreme Court verdict was on the favor of Action Nepal and instructed government to enforce the 90% PHW on tobacco products.

Results and lessons learnt:
Conducting the series of workshop and policy meeting with enforcement agency, we convinced them to implement the PHW as per the Tobacco Control Act and directives. It was very challenging for us to counter the Tobacco Industry´s arguments. Making a strong partnership with government,enforcement agencies includes Ministry of Health,Ministry of Industry and Nepal police and Media, we succeed on the project Implementation of 90% PHW in Nepal.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
Civil society can make a solid team of government official, doctors,media and public to counter the tobacco industry interference and so such team should be sustained and more dynamic in days ahead to implement such projects for tobacco free society.

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