The Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control

Brazil launches first regional tobacco industry observatory

The first of five planned regional centres that will collect and share information about tobacco industry strategies to undermine tobacco control was launched in Brazil on 1 April.

Known as an online observatory, the centre is a partnership of the Government of Brazil and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), an FCA member. It features an online database that will be available to governments, civil society stakeholders, academic researchers and the public.

Managed by CETAB

The observatory was developed and will be managed by the Centre for Studies on Tobacco and Health (CETAB) at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, known as Fiocruz, a renowned health research agency linked to Brazil's Ministry of Health.

“The observatory will collect and analyse documents and virtual data (scientific publications, government and NGO reports, etc.) on tobacco industry strategies in Brazil and the region,” said Cristiane Vianna, The Union’s technical advisor for tobacco control in Brazil. “It will also produce and disseminate information to government officials, legislators and decision makers in general.”

The project to create industry monitoring centres in the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), was initiated by the Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) following the sixth meeting of the FCTC Conference of the Parties. COP6 adopted a decision to further promote the implementation of FCTC Article 5.3, especially in relation to industry efforts to undermine tobacco control efforts internationally.

Brazil a leader

Brazil has long been a world leader in tobacco control. In 2012 it became the first country to ban all flavours and additives in tobacco products. However the tobacco industry challenged that measure, and it was suspended by the Supreme Court in 2013.

“The launch is not necessarily linked with the court challenge to the additives ban,” said Cristiane. “However, the observatory should be of use in that case as well.”

Another BRICS observatory is being set up now in South African, while Sri Lanka has taken the initiative to create one also, according to the FCTC Secretariat’s website.

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