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New research identifies 31 factors that national tobacco control programmes need in order to be sustainable. Published now in the BMJ's Tobacco Control, authors at The Union draw on ten years’ experience assisting governments around the world to build programmes to reduce tobacco use. The study develops an Index of Tobacco Control Sustainability to be used by countries to establish their current level of sustainability and to identify priority areas for development.

After a two-year battle, a ground-breaking development for public health has seen graphic health warnings on tobacco packaging in India quadruple in size. Harrowing images of the health consequences of tobacco use must now be displayed across 85 percent of the surface area of all tobacco packets -- a measure proven to help users quit and prevent others taking up the habit.

The government of Brazil, in partnership with The Union, has launched an online observatory to protect and strengthen tobacco control policies by monitoring tobacco industry interference -- the first such government-run initiative in the region.

The Union’s Department of Tobacco Control participated in a two-day workshop in March to support the passing and implementation of a law that would ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS) in Peru.The Union’s legal advisor for tobacco control, Gustavo Soñora, shared his expertise on implementing smokefree spaces and a TAPS ban in Uruguay to members of the Government of Peru, the Commission of Health and the Commission for Consumer Protection.

Pakistan has taken a major step towards banning all tobacco advertising after tobacco giant, Philip Morris Pakistan, withdrew its petition to Sindh High Court challenging a 2014 statutory regulatory order (SRO) that closes loopholes in the existing ban.

On 8 March the world will mark International Women’s Day. This year’s theme ‘gender parity’ is a timely reminder for public health professionals that women in low- and middle-income countries are a prime target for the tobacco industry. Smoking rates amongst this group are as yet comparatively low compared with rates of smoking amongst men, but aggressively targeted marketing aims to increase this figure.

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The Tobacco Control Department is based at The Union Europe Office, Edinburgh, registered charity no. SC039880
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