Tobacco Control

Tobacco use and second-hand smoke kill 8 million people each year. The Union works with governments and civil society across the globe to assist with the development of comprehensive tobacco control laws, and the infrastructure needed to implement them. Read more about tobacco control.

Union Activities

The Union co-manages the Bloomberg Initiative (BI) to Reduce Tobacco Use Grants Program in partnership with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The programme awards funds to projects delivering high-impact tobacco control interventions, based on MPOWER, in low- and middle-income countries. Priority is given to countries with the highest prevalence of tobacco use.

Our priority countries are: China, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Vietnam, Philippines, Brazil, Ukraine and Mexico. In the third quarter of 2019 The Union was managing 79 active grant projects.

To date 1,060 grants worth over US$175 million have been awarded by The Union and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids through the BI Grants Program.

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

Global Implementation Programme

The Union is also funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies to implement the Global Implementation Programme. This is a pilot programme to support seven cities in four low- and middle-income countries to effectively implement their tobacco control laws.  Read more. This programme includes the Global Implementation Hub, which provides tools, resources and case studies on implementation and enforcement of laws to combat the global tobacco epidemic. Visit the Global Implementation Hub.

STOP (Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products)

The Union is a key partner in STOP, a global tobacco industry watchdog funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, whose mission is to expose tobacco industry strategies and tactics to undermine public health. Read more.

Asia Pacific Cities Alliance for Tobacco Control and NCDs Prevention (APCAT)

APCAT was established in 2016 by The Union Asia Pacific Office in Singapore as a network and forum for subnational leaders working to advance tobacco control in the region. Read more.

The Union's priority tobacco control policy areas

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