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Awareness, attitudes and practices relating to Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control among members of tobacco control committees in a southern Indian state


Background and objectives The tobacco industry (TI) has undermined tobacco control policy for decades. The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Article 5.3 implementation guidelines provide guidance for preventing TI interference. Government officials responsible for policy implementation must understand these guidelines to manage TI tactics. This study assessed awareness, attitudes and practices of Article 5.3 guidelines among members of District Level Coordination Committees (DLCC) in Karnataka mandated with overseeing tobacco control activity.

Method A semistructured questionnaire survey of awareness, attitudes and adherence to Article 5.3 guidelines among 102 DLCC members carried out between January and July 2019.

Result Responses were received from 82 members, comprising 51 (62%) from health and 31 (38%) from non-health departments. Our study demonstrates a lack of understanding of Article 5.3 and its guidelines, even among those actively involved in tobacco control at the district level. Nearly 80% of respondents were aware that corporate social responsibility (CSR) by tobacco companies is an indirect form of promoting tobacco. However, 44% of members felt that CSR funding from the TI should be used to combat tobacco-related harm. A higher proportion (12%) of health respondents agreed that subsidies should be provided to tobacco agriculture compared with non-health (3%).

Conclusion Awareness of international guidance designed to prevent the TI influence on health policy among policymakers in this Indian state is low. Respondents from non-health departments were less aware of TI CSR. Those in health departments were more receptive towards taking a TI role in the future .

  • Tobacco industry
  • Advocacy
  • Low/Middle income country
  • Public policy

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