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Research priorities for tobacco control in developing countries: a regional approach to a global consultative process

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To develop regional tobacco control research agendas for developing countries through a consultative process.

METHODS Research for International Tobacco Control, located at the International Development Research Centre in Ottawa, Canada, convened three regional meetings for Latin America and the Caribbean, South and Southeast Asia, and Eastern, Central and Southern Africa. Participation by researchers, policymakers, and advocates from a wide range of disciplines ensured an accurate representation of regional issues.

RESULTS The four main recurring themes within each regional agenda were: (1) the lack of standardised and comparable data; (2) the absence of a network for communication of information, data, and best practices; (3) a lack of adequate capacity for tobacco control research, especially in non-health related areas such as economics and policy analysis; and (4) a need for concerted mobilisation of human and financial resources in order to implement a comprehensive research agenda, build partnerships, and stimulate comparative research and analysis. Specific research issues included the need for descriptive data with respect to the supply side of the tobacco equation, and analytical data related to tobacco use, production and marketing, and taxation.

CONCLUSIONS There was a uniform perception of tobacco as a multidisciplinary issue. All regional agendas included a balance of health, economic, agricultural, environmental, sociocultural, and international trade concerns. Research data are urgently required to provide a sound basis for the development of tobacco control policies and programmes. As tobacco control takes its rightful place on the global health agenda, it is vital that funding for tobacco control research be increased.

  • regional tobacco control programmes
  • developing countries
  • tobacco control research
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