IPH, Bengaluru staff participate in the 5th National Conference on Tobacco or Health

IPH, Bengaluru staff participate in the 5th National Conference on Tobacco or Health

Thirteen members of the Chronic Conditions and Public Policies cluster at IPH actively participated in the three day conference of the 5th National Conference on Tobacco or Health (NCTOH). This three-day scientific programme focused on diverse public health issues and challenges in tobacco control at the national and sub-national level along with context-specific solutions for their replication towards achieving tobacco free environments. There were plenary sessions, panel discussions, symposia, oral presentation, poster discussion, and workshops on many aspects of tobacco control which will pave the way towards building effective policy and program.

Dr Upendra Bhojani, Riddhi Dsouza, Anand Kumar, Kanika Chaudhary, Ketki Shah, Dr Pragati Hebbar, Vivek Dsouza, Dr Chandrashekar Kottagi, Kranthi Vysyaraju, Aishwarya Ashok, Praveen Rao, Achyutha Nagara Gadde and Kumaran P from the Institute of Public Health (IPH), Bengaluru actively participated in this 3-day national conference held between September 25 and 27, 2021.
Dr Upendra Bhojani, Director, IPH Bengaluru on Day 1 (September 25, 2021) was in a panel discussion and presented on “How should we approach commercial determinant of health?”, he was part of the plenary session on September 26, 2021 on “Emerging Issues in Tobacco Control: Contextualising Global Interventions” and he presented on “Tobacco Industry Interference”.

Dr Pragati Hebbar made two oral presentations- “Implementation’ of tobacco control policies in LMICs – a realist synthesis to explain the process and its facilitators and barriers” and the second, “LifeFirst: Impact of a school-based tobacco- and supari-cessation intervention among adolescents in Mumbai, India.”

This national conference was a boost to tobacco control efforts by the amalgamation of tobacco control professionals, health programme managers, public health experts, civil society advocates, academicians and researchers of various clinical and non-clinical disciplines from different states across the country under one roof who shared their contextual experiences and best practices in tobacco control which was aimed to ultimately lead to advancing tobacco control in the country.

To get a glimpse of the 5th NCTOH click: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Drv30sDRoTU

Preventing TII in Karnataka

Preventing TII in Karnataka

Consultancy project with the State Anti-Tobacco Cell

Symposium on Applied Research in Tobacco Control and Regional Stakeholder Meeting’ (Virtual) was held on 16th September 2021 in association with the Tobacco Control Capacity Programme and State Tobacco Control Cell, Government of Karnataka. Dr. Upendra Bhojani (Director, IPH-Bengaluru) was invited to talk about Tobacco Industry Interference (TII) prevention measures for Karnataka. The event was organised by Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE).

Paper on food laws to ban smokeless tobacco products in India

Paper on food laws to ban smokeless tobacco products in India

Consultancy project with the State Anti-Tobacco Cell

(BMJ) Tobacco Control recently published a paper by Dr. Upendra Bhojani and Riddhi Dsouza from the DEEP project at the Institute of Public Health, Bengaluru. The paper analysed how several states in India used food laws to ban certain smokeless tobacco products overcoming the intense legal resistance mounted by the tobacco industry. This was done by analysing all the tobacco-related litigations under food law in the High Courts and the Supreme Court of India. The full text of the paper titled “Strategic and contested use of food laws to ban smokeless tobacco products in India: a qualitative analysis of litigation” can be found here.

Workshop on Preventing TII (Chhattisgarh & Manipur)

Workshop on Preventing TII (Chhattisgarh & Manipur)

Consultancy project with the State Anti-Tobacco Cell

In two separate workshops held in December last year, Dr. Upendra Bhojani (Director, IPH-Bengaluru) was invited to serve as a resource person (virtual) on Tobacco Industry Interference (TII). The workshops were held in Chhattisgarh (16th December, 2020) and Manipur (21st December, 2020).

Dr. Bhojani spoke about TII and the broad array of tactics and strategies used directly or indirectly by the tobacco industry to interfere with, or influence, the setting and implementation of effective tobacco control measures as per Article 5.3 of the WHO FCTC guidelines.

The State level Consultation Workshops were organised by the State Tobacco Control Cell of the respective states.

Paper on Parliamentary Questions Related to Tobacco in India

Paper on Parliamentary Questions Related to Tobacco in India

Consultancy project with the State Anti-Tobacco Cell

Dr. Upendra Bhojani, co-authored a paper in the BMJ Global Health, along with Amiti Varma & Latha Chilgod of the Institute of Public Health, Bengaluru. This is the first peer-reviewed paper from the DEEP project titled “Diverse and competing interests around tobacco: qualitative analysis of two decades of parliamentary questions in India”. The paper analysed 1315 tobacco-related questions asked by 729 MPs over the two decades (1999-2019).

MPs had concerns about health (consumption patterns; harms; cessation; regulations); trade (production & export; Tobacco Board of India; market growth); agriculture (support for farmers); labour (working conditions; alternative livelihoods; impacts of regulations). The nature of concerns changed over time with health becoming a dominant concern. Other issues like trade took somewhat of a back seat, possibly due to a growing awareness on health harms and incremental tobacco control regulations.

Livelihood and economy-related concerns persisted throughout. The number of MPs asking tobacco-related questions varied widely across states. States, from where maximum MPs asked questions (Andhra Pradesh; Maharashtra; Uttar Pradesh; Karnataka; Tamil Nadu in that order) are the states with a greater presence of tobacco industry.

Key takeaways: (1) parliamentary questions, that remain underutilized in health policy research, could be a useful resource; (2) tobacco evokes diverse & competing interests implying a need for careful mediation and consultative approach to policy making for public health gains; (3) In India, state-level (economic, political, historical, cultural) contexts are crucial in understanding the political economy of tobacco and formulating tobacco control regulations; (4) identifying key concerns help public health folks engage with diverse political voices when tobacco control reforms are planned/executed enhancing political support across sectors and constituencies for tobacco control.

We would like to thank DBT/ WT India Alliance for their support. The paper can be accessed here.

 

India Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2020

India Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2020

Consultancy project with the State Anti-Tobacco Cell

Led by Dr. Upendra Bhojani and Adhip Amin from IPH, the India Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2020 report has been produced through a collaborative work of several institutions and individuals active in tobacco control research and practice in India. The report was released in September 2020 at the 5th National Conference on Tobacco or Health (NCTOH)-Virtual. Dr. Upendra Bhojani participated in the conference and was a panelist in a session that focused on Stopping Tobacco Industry Interference. The NCTOH panel talk and release is available here at NCTOH youtube page.

This report is a systematic and collaborative effort at assessing the implementation of the WHO FCTC Article 5.3 in India. The Tobacco Industry Interference Index helps to assess the implementation of the FCTC Article 5.3 through standardized tools using a systematic inquiry and materials in the public domain. Index report and summary are available for download at the India country page on the Global Tobacco Index webportal.

Tobacco industry interference in public policies remains a major concern in India. The overall score for the India 2020 Tobacco Industry Interference Index is 61 out of 100. This suggests a small but definite improvement in implementation of the FCTC Article 5.3 in 2019 compared to the year 2018 (score 69/100) and 2017 (score 72/100). Higher score indicates greater interference.

 

 

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