Background The health impact of tobacco use remains a major global public health concern and a human rights issue. The Human Rights and Tobacco Control Network (HRTCN) was established to increase the visibility of tobacco as a human rights issue. HRTCN submitted short reports to the UN Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights evaluating individual nations' tobacco control policies and offering recommendations.
Methods HRTCN reviewed Concluding Observations documents for nations for which the HRTCN submitted reports. If tobacco was mentioned in the Concluding Observations through acknowledging the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control ratification, policy changes or discussing tobacco in the recommendations, this was scored as a positive finding. HRTCN also reviewed Concluding Observations for nations for which HRTCN did not submit reports as a comparison.
Results Thirty-eight HRTCN reports were submitted and tobacco was mentioned in Concluding Observations for 11 nations for a rate of 28.9%. In a comparison set of Concluding Observations (n=59), 7% had comments or recommendations relative to tobacco.
Conclusions This was not a controlled study and the 28.9% ’success rate' for impacting the Concluding Observations, although encouraging, is less than optimal—and leaves room for improvement. The higher rate of tobacco mentions for the cases where the HRTCN short reports were submitted provides preliminary indications that the short reports may have potential to increase the state focus on tobacco control. Future work will seek to improve the design and scope of the reports, and the specificity of the background information and recommendations offered.
- human rights
- tobacco control evaluation
- FCTC evaluation
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Contributors KH and JL did several of the original research on submitted HRTCN short reports and review of the CESCR submissions and reports. They drafted the initial version of the paper. HL, PhD, has overseen the work of KH and JL and multiple reviews of the paper. CD developed the idea, structure of the methodology and final oversight of the paper.
Funding The background work and research on this paper were done during volunteer and uncompensated time for all authors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.