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Index of tobacco control sustainability (ITCS): a tool to measure the sustainability of national tobacco control programmes


Objective To produce a tool to assess and guide sustainability of national tobacco control programmes.

Method A two-stage process adapting the Delphi and Nominal group techniques. A series of indicators of tobacco control sustainability were identified in grantee/country advisor reports to The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease under the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Control (2007–2015). Focus groups and key informant interviews in seven low and middle-income countries (52 government and civil society participants) provided consensus ratings of the indicators’ relative importance. Data were reviewed and the indicators were accorded relative weightings to produce the ‘Index of Tobacco Control Sustainability’ (ITCS).

Results All 31 indicators were considered ‘Critical’ or ‘Important’ by the great majority of participants. There was consensus that a tool to measure progress towards tobacco control sustainability was important. The most critical indicators related to financial policies and allocations, a national law, a dedicated national tobacco control unit and civil society tobacco control network, a national policy against tobacco industry ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ (CSR), national mortality and morbidity data, and national policy evaluation mechanisms.

Conclusions The 31 indicators were agreed to be ‘critical’ or ‘important’ factors for tobacco control sustainability. The Index comprises the weighted indicators as a tool to identify aspects of national tobacco control programmes requiring further development to augment their sustainability and to measure and compare progress over time. The next step is to apply the ITCS and produce tobacco control sustainability assessments.

  • Global health
  • Low/Middle income country
  • Prevention

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