Using experience and lessons learned to help countries combat tobacco industry tactics

Video: Exposing myths about tobacco

Across the WHO European Region, countries such as Georgia, Ireland, Slovenia, the United Kingdom and others are passing legislation that mandates plain or standardized packaging of tobacco products. These laws can have a significant impact on reducing tobacco use and preventing its harmful health effects.

However, such efforts often meet with aggressive attempts by the tobacco industry to block or weaken them. Governments are increasingly finding ways to successfully counter the tactics of the tobacco industry and implement laws, regulations and public health initiatives to strengthen tobacco control.

The Tobacco Control Playbook, a resource created by WHO/Europe, highlights the arguments and approaches that leaders have developed and used to counteract and succeed against the tobacco industry. It aims to share this knowledge widely to help countries learn from each other’s experiences. It does so by offering a collection of evidence-based arguments from different thematic areas, designed to support countries in their efforts to fully implement the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. This living document is meant to be updated and extended with further arguments as the learning and experience of countries grows.

Updated design and additional arguments enhance the Playbook

The Playbook, a web-based resource, recently underwent a major update to improve its usability. WHO/Europe unveiled the Playbook’s new look and layout in Moscow, Russian Federation, at the June 2017 meeting of noncommunicable disease directors of Europe. It is now publicly available via the link below.

In addition to the updated design, the following 2 new arguments have been added to the 8 existing ones.

  • Is smoking cessation beneficial for people with mental illness, and can they quit?
  • Is tobacco smoking a free and informed choice?

Several additional arguments will be added to the Playbook in the coming months. They cover a wide range of topics and provide specific arguments, relevant evidence and examples from real-life experiences that can assist countries as they work to expand tobacco control efforts. WHO/Europe encourages experts and other stakeholders in such efforts to provide feedback on the Playbook and contribute their own knowledge by sharing experiences, best practices and lessons learned.