Global Initiatives

The Harvard School of Public Health

Center for Global Tobacco Control

Global Initiatives

Our Global Initiatives: Partnerships to reduce smoking worldwide:

A cornerstone of the Harvard School of Public Health is its Center for Global Tobacco Control (The CGTC).  The Center’s mission is to reduce the burden of tobacco use globally through research, training, and the translation of knowledge into tobacco control policies as recommended by the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).  Under the leadership of Professor Gregory N. Connolly, an internationally-recognized expert in the field of tobacco control, the Center works with governmental, academic, and research scientists throughout the world to design and implement strategies for reducing smoking prevalence rates. 

Smoking represents a major public health problem leading to grave health consequences for both children and adults.  Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and disability throughout the world.  Each year, tobacco use results in excessive healthcare expenditures.  These disturbing trends call for urgent measures and collaborative interventions to protect our future – the youth.

The solution requires the combined effort of a wide variety of groups working together on common goals and objectives.  This involves bringing together a network of committed governmental officials, non-governmental organizations, health care professionals, the public health community, the media, and the public to collaborate to reduce smoking prevalence.

We invite you to contact us to share your ideas for collaboration.

Our aims:

We at the CGTC work with partners globally to utilize our research to develop evidence-based smoking prevention programs and policies.  Our 3 aims are to:

  • Help partner countries prevent youth from smoking, protect non-smokers from the harm of adult second-hand smoke, and change the social environment to enable smokers to quit more easily;
  • Develop measure to achieve the above as articulated in the World Health Organization’s Frame Work Convention for Tobacco Control, including policies on raising price through taxation, comprehensive bans on smoking, and policies for smoke-free schools for children;
  • Educate the public to change behavior and support polices by conducting public education about the dangers of smoking through mass media, pictorial warnings on tobacco product packages, and policies that counter tobacco industry efforts to market to children.

All of the above strategies and policies are effective in reducing tobacco use in nations that have implemented them.  Our model stresses the need for creating local science that documents the use of tobacco, the burden it places on the local society, and the need for creating salience with the media and public opinion leaders about the need for policy-driven change. Proper implementation and evaluation are critical to long-term success.  Broad support among coalitions of groups is essential for success.

Our Model for Policy Development:

For too long, the global tobacco industry has misled nations into believing that smoking does not cause harm.  They argue that they do not want children to smoke and that tobacco benefits economic growth and development.  Their research has dominated the public and private discourse.  The time has come for persons and groups committed to the health and well-being of their nations to reject these false notions and embrace science as a tool of making smoking history. 

We help nations provide the necessary tools to accomplish these objectives.  The one tool not included is the moral courage one needs to design, implement, and enforce these policies. 

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Components of a successful national campaign:

Clean indoor air policies represent a pivotal component in any program and must be enforced.    Elements of policy implementation include:

  • Policy Instrument (Law) – Clear legislation that focuses on public health protection with minimal economic exemptions and specific penalties for violations
  • Public Education Education of the public and venue owners through media campaigns (television advertisements, mailings to owners, etc.) and direct communication
  • Signage –  Signage at each regulated establishment that clearly states the law’s requirements, fines, and a vehicle to report violations
  • Enforcement and Penalties – Strict enforcement of the legislation through periodic inspections, particularly at the onset of the legislation, and training of health inspectors.  By and large, laws that are implemented well during the first few weeks will become self-enforcing over time.
  • Targeted Implementation – Targeted projects that include guidelines for private and public facilities, human resource personnel on implementation across sectors including schools, hospitals, private businesses, and other agencies, as well as cessation services
  • Research and Evaluation – Research and evaluation of the policy’s effect on reduction in second-hand smoke exposure and compare the results to other countries
  • Measuring Morbidity and Mortality – Research on the consequences of a reduction in second-hand smoke exposure on disease, including cardiovascular disease, otitis media, etc. by investigating hospital data
  • Quantifying Economic Consequences – Examination of the effect of second-hand smoke (SHS) policies on busyness for hospitality sector (meals tax payments) before and after the law

Ideas for collaboration:

Please contact Monique Bertic at mbertic@hsph.harvard.edu to discuss your specific needs and ideas for collaboration.