Tobacco Control

Tobacco use and secondhand smoke kill nearly 6 million people each year and therefore has been a priority for The Union for more than 25 years. The Union’s focus has been identifying practical strategies for low-income countries to achieve tobacco control and disseminating this information through technical assistance, education and applied research.  Read more about tobacco control.

Union Activities

Since 2006, The Union has played an active role in the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, working to implement tobacco control interventions in the countries with the highest burden of tobacco-related disease. The Union currently supports tobacco control in 61 countries, and is part of an international network of organisations working to combat the tobacco epidemic.

Read more about the Bloomberg Initiative and the BI grants programme, co-managed by The Union.

Smokefree environments

The Union works to help countries develop, adopt and enforce comprehensive smokefree legislation. Often, when there are barriers to national legislation, The Union works with sub-national governments to implement local smokefree policies.  Read country stories.

Advertising Bans

The Union works with governments and partners to raise capacity to legislate and enforce comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS).  The Union also supports countries to monitor industry activities and address any loopholes in legislation related to advertising in emerging media. Countries where the Union has supported government bans on TAPs include Bangladesh, Nepal, Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Ecuador. Read country stories.

Tobacco Packaging and Labeling

The Union advocates for the inclusion of FCTC-compliant graphic health warnings whenever assisting countries to develop comprehensive tobacco control legislation. The Union also promotes legislation to ban misleading descriptors, such as "light" and "mild", on tobacco packages and supports the introduction of plain tobacco packaging. These issues are addressed in The Union's training: Warn about the dangers of tobacco. Read country stories.

Tobacco Taxes

The Union works to build cross-ministerial partnerships for tobacco control in order to engage ministries of finance and other ministries, which may not be officially responsible for public health, but whose support is vital for taxation increases. Read country stories.

Tobacco Industry Interference

The Union works with governments to help make the best use of the funds available and to encourage the allocation of further resources to combating the tobacco industry. The Union has developed publications and trainings on preventing tobacco industry interference, especially in regard to public health policy. The Union occasionally supports in-country partners to defended challenges from, or bring legal proceedings against, the tobacco industry.

The Union’s Tobacco Control Scientific Section has a working group dedicated to Article 5.3 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which deals with protecting health policies from industry interference.  Read country stories.

Tobacco Control Legislation

A strong civil society is essential to the sustainability of tobacco control in countries. Civil society organisations are able to monitor the local situation and hold governments accountable for effective tobacco control policy implementation. The Union works with NGOs in over 35 countries to strengthen their tobacco control programmes and facilitate the establishment of civil society coalitions for tobacco control. Read country stories.

Smoking cessation

Offering help to quit tobacco use is one of the six major MPOWER measures developed by the WHO to implement the WHO Framework Convention for Tobacco Control at a country-level. In accordance with Article 14 (Demand reduction measures concerning tobacco dependence and cessation), The Union advocates simplifying smoking cessation, expanding it widely through tobacco-free health services and working with communities in order to reach more people.  In addition, The Union partners with the World Lung Foundation to maintain a mass media resource of smoking cessation  and smokefree media campaigns from around the world. Read country stories.

Tobacco Control News

Tobacco Control Publications