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Last month we spoke with Anne Jones, a Union technical advisor for tobacco control based in Viet Nam, about the current projects and activities taking place in her region with regards to reducing tobacco usage, current challenges faced and the ultimate goals. Anne’s role is to coordinate all these activities and personnel from governmental, civil communities and Union staff, to achieve the aim of reducing the burden of tobacco in low to middle income countries.

What kinds of tobacco control projects are you working on at the moment?

I currently have three main projects I’m working on. The first is providing technical advice to our grantees in Viet Nam, and secondly helping coordinate the tobacco tax work by situating Union focal point staff in Viet Nam, Indonesia, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The third major piece of work, which will commence in January, is the Stopping Tobacco Organisations and Products (STOP) STOP Tobacco Industry global watchdog project monitoring and countering tobacco industry interference tactics.

What local partners are you working with?

We are working closely with government authorities in health and finance, as well as, civil society organisations (universities and public health associations) in Viet Nam. Our Union staff are great assets in coordinating efforts to reduce tobacco use and increase sustainable funding for health programs by increasing tobacco taxes.

What kinds of activity are you undertaking at the moment?

We are working to strengthen enforcement of smoke-free laws in Viet Nam as although the tobacco control law is quite comprehensive, the enforcement mechanism is weak at national and provincial levels. Tobacco taxes are also very low, so we are providing technical advice on best practices, case studies and tax models in collaboration with local and international partners.

I also recently published an article published in The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, titled Unlocking the power of tobacco taxes: how evidence on impacts can reshape the future.

What is the biggest challenge in your country/area?

Tobacco industry influence and interference in health policies is a major challenge, as many low to middle income countries are yet to see the benefits of de-normalising tobacco use.

What is your overall objective?

To help low to middle income countries achieve their goals under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and a more sustainable future without the devastating costs of tobacco use.

What audiences are most important in your work?

When governments and civil societies work together the best results are achieved.

What are the key project milestones?

Reductions in tobacco use rates; higher tobacco taxes; sustainable funding for health; effective enforcement of tobacco control laws; and protection of health policies from tobacco industry interference.

 

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