Evidence to policy in tobacco control

Publication year: 2010

Publication type: Conference presentation – Poster

Conference: 3rd South Asian regional symposium on evidence informed health care

Citation: Bhojani U. Using evidence to inform policy making and implementation: a case of tobacco control in Karnataka, 3rd South Asian regional symposium on evidence informed health care & 8th winter symposium, Christian Medical College, Vellore – India, January 2010



India was among the earlier countries to ratify the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). In fact India enacted a national legislation, ‘The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) 2003’ even before FCTC came in force. Though, not free of lacuna, COTPA provided good framework with inclusion of evidence-based strategies including 1) prohibition on smoking in public spaces 2) prohibition on tobacco advertising 3) prohibition of sale of tobacco products to minors and near educational institutions and 4) mandatory display of picture warnings on tobacco products including others. However, framing of rules and their notifications to implement COTPA presented complex challenges for public health community as it became evident from repeated delays and dilutions of the original provisions of the Act.


To describe how needed evidences to strengthen tobacco control policies and its implementation were generated and were disseminated using innovative tools and channels to relevant stakeholders by Institute of Public Health (IPH) in Karnataka.


Situational and stakeholder analysis helped to identify issues and influential stakeholders in context of tobacco control in India. Discourses regarding employment of tobacco industry workers, effectiveness and acceptance of suggested warnings, impact of tobacco control measures on general economy surfaced by tobacco industry, media, and at times politicians created negative environment for effective and undiluted implementation of proposed Act.

In this context, through short studies and surveys IPH  generated relevant evidences and  used innovative tools to disseminate it to media (Media tool kit, Sensitization meetings, Provision of relevant information), law makers (Stories in local and national newspapers, Advocacy kit on pictorial warnings, memoranda, and campaigns), law enforcers (news stories on legal violations, Complaints to various departments, PIL in Karnataka high court) and community (Awareness campaigns, painting competitions  and fact sheets for schools).


These efforts resulted in publication of IEC materials and more than 20 news stories in local and national papers on periodic basis. Karnataka High Court passed an interim order instructing various stakeholders to strengthen implementation of law.  Increased awareness among students, teachers and community in general.