The Leadership Summit on Tobacco Control will be a one-day virtual event.

On Monday 18 October 2021, an exciting programme of 7 hours will be broadcasted live starting 1 pm CEST. The session formats will include plenaries and presentations. During each session, attendees will have the opportunity to engage with the panelists during the live Question & Answers (Q&A) segments.

All session times are shown in Central European Summer Time (CEST).

Monday 18 October 2021

  • 13:00 Opening of the Leadership Summit on Tobacco Control

    The Leadership Summit on Tobacco or Health will be inaugurated with keynote speeches from Hon Micheál Martin (Irish Taoiseach), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Director General, World Health Organisation, Switzerland), Mr Michael Bloomberg (Founder, Bloomberg Philanthropies, United States of America), Dr Judith Mackay (Director, Asian Consultancy on Tobacco Control – Special Advisor, Global Centre for Good Governance in Tobacco Control – Senior Policy Advisor, World Health Organisation) and Prof Guy Marks (Interim Executive Director, The Union, Australia).

  • 13:45 Navigating Change – Leading with Impact (Plenary Session)

    Duration: 60 minutes

    This plenary based on the summit theme will review global mechanisms, new challenges from pandemics and how we identify and measure impact and the role of leadership in a changing tobacco control world. Also, review lessons learnt and way forward for tobacco control during Public Health Emergencies such as COVID-19 World leaders will share their advice on how to harness global support, actions and access to resources for implementing Conventions through bilateral and multilateral funding mechanisms.

    Examples will show how health data is used to measure and integrate evidence; and how global mechanisms and solidarity among Parties are critical to achieve end to epidemic.


    • Hon Stephen Donnelly (Minister of Health of Ireland)
    • Ms Stella Kyriakides (Commissioner for Health and Safety, European Commission, Belgium)
    • Dr Adriana Blanco Marquizo (Head of Secretariat, WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, Switzerland)
    • Dr Nora Volkow (Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse, United States of America)
    • Dr Douglas Bettcher (Director-General’s Office, World Health Organisation, Switzerland)
  • 14:50 Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products

    Duration: 40 minutes

    Illicit trade in tobacco products causes substantial losses in government revenues, and at the same time contributes to the funding of international criminal activities. It is recognised as a significant source of illicit financial flows that undermine sustainable development. This also poses a serious threat to public health since it increases access to tobacco products, thus undermining tobacco control policies.

    The Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products was developed in response to a growing concern by Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) regarding illicit trade in tobacco products and its role in fuelling the tobacco epidemic. This new international treaty, which is the first protocol to the WHO FCTC, entered into force on 25 September 2018 and currently has 62 Parties.

    Tackling the illicit tobacco trade will improve public health and safeguard tax revenues that can be utilised by governments to finance sustainable development, in line with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. These resources can also be used by governments to help finance recovery efforts during and after the current pandemic.

    During this session, arguments will be presented on how to ‘frame’ the implementation of the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products as an accelerator of Sustainable Development. Also, a set of concrete, actionable recommendations will be defined for stakeholders (Parties to the WHO FCTC and/or the Protocol, international intergovernmental, and non-governmental organisations) on how to act on accelerating progress on the implementation of the Protocol.


    • Ms Sheryl Dennis-Wright (Attorney-at-Law, Public Health Law and Policy, Jamaica)
    • Mr Mohammad Ehteshamul Hoque (Technical Officer – Customs, World Health Organization, Switzerland)
    • Mr Vladimir Stasko (Programme Manager, Revenue – Enforcement and Compliance Sub-Directorate- World Customs Organisation, Belgium)
  • 15:30 Reforming National Tobacco Tax Policy (Plenary Session)

    Duration: 60 minutes.

    This plenary session will present the perspectives of health and finance leaders on the importance of tobacco tax policy and implementation as a vital tool in addressing the tobacco epidemic. Tobacco taxation is the single most cost effective yet least implemented tobacco control policy measure. Reforming tobacco tax policy and implementation at the country level requires unified and coordinated action, particularly from health and finance leaders. This becomes more important in the context of a COVID-19 response where health is fundamental to economic recovery.  Reforming tobacco tax policy will be a critical component of any “build back better” recovery effort – improving health, saving lives, reducing health care costs, and bringing in much needed government revenue to assist in economic recovery efforts.

    While reforming tobacco taxation is an essential component of national efforts to address the tobacco epidemic and post-COVID19 response and recovery challenges, strong industry and vested interests oppose such reforms. Efforts to counter these powerful vested interests must be led by national leaders, particularly health and finance leaders. These leaders will need to navigate change towards a new normal where enhanced implementation of the WHO FCTC will be essential to any “build back better” economic recovery.


    • Dr Mauricio Cardenas (Former Minister of Finance and Public Credit, Colombia)
    • Mr Jeremias Paul Jr. (Head, Fiscal Policies for Health Unit, Department of Health Promotion, World Health Organization, Switzerland)
    • Mr Cesar Purisima (Former Secretary of Finance, Philippines)
    • Ms Ceren Ozer (Senior Governance Specialist, World Bank, United States of America)
    • Mr Bizimana Ruganintwali Pascal (Commissioner General, Rwanda Revenue Authority, Rwanda)
  • 16:35 Evolving Nicotine and Tobacco Products: Challenges and Way Forward (Plenary Session)

    Duration: 60 minutes

    This plenary will address the summit theme and present the latest evidence on the successes and challenges of regulating electronic nicotine and tobacco products in countries at different stages of the tobacco epidemic. The push by tobacco companies to open markets or seek regulatory carve outs for these products has precluded a deliberate policy approach in many countries.  Speakers will provide a global overview of progress and describe the experiences and insights into why and how the evidence on these products has been acted upon in different ways in different countries, including LMICs, the USA and the UK. Specific lessons on tobacco industry tactics to push ENDS and HTPs during COVID will also be discussed.


    • Prof Olalekan Ayo-Yusuf (Professor, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, South Africa)
    • Ms Tabitha Brufal (Deputy Director for Healthy Behaviours and Lead for the Independent Review of Drugs, Department of Health and Social Care, United Kingdom)
    • Ms Tania Cavalcante (Executive secretary, National Commission for the Implementation of the FCTC, Brazil)
    • Mr Matthew Myers (President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, United States of America)
    • Dr Vinayak Prasad (Programme Manager, World Health Organisation, Switzerland)
  • 17:40 Opportunities for Tobacco Control to Build Back Better

    Duration: 40 minutes

    As the pandemic continues it is becoming clear that it will have significant, long-lasting effects on the social and economic environments in which we live and work. This is likely to include fundamental changes to the way that governments raise revenues and spend money, how they prioritise health and related spending decisions, and how they conduct international relations. The world may not return to how it was pre-pandemic for some time, if ever in some ways.

    There are a number of challenges for global tobacco control in this new and very changed environment. In all countries, tobacco control risks being not prioritised by governments as they tackle the immediate and longer term challenges posed by the pandemic. In order to safe-guard progress against the tobacco epidemic and ensure that tobacco control remains on the political agenda in the coming years, it will be necessary for the tobacco control community to identify clear opportunities for advancing tobacco control in this new and changed environment.

    During this session a few leading options for how to ‘frame’ tobacco control in a COVID-ized political and economic landscape will be presented. For each of these themes, a set of concrete, actionable recommendations for stakeholders (advocates, academia, governments) will be defined on how to take action on accelerating tobacco control progress.


    • Mr Jeffrey Drope (Research Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago, United States of America)
    • Ms Kellen Nyamurungi (Research Associate, Makerere University School of Public Health/Centre for Tobacco Control in Africa, Uganda)
    • Ms Leslie Rae Ferat (Executive Director, Framework Convention Alliance, Canada)
    • Ms Sara Rose Taylor (Principal Researcher and Policy Analyst, Framework Convention Alliance, Canada)
  • 18:25 Making the Tobacco Endgame Real: Challenges and Opportunities in a Changed Environment (Plenary Session)

    Duration: 60 minutes

    This plenary will address the summit theme, review and assess real world models, mechanisms, challenges and opportunities for ending the tobacco epidemic of the 21stcentury. Speakers will discuss how to accelerate setting the sun on the tobacco industry, including activities to monitor the changing shape of the tobacco industry including COVID specific tactics and counter tobacco companies, end date strategies, legal and regulatory actions to stop the spread of tobacco epidemics. Speakers will also be asked to address their comments on the impact COVID-19 might have on the challenges and opportunities.


    • Dr Eduardo Bianco (Regional Coordinator, Framework Convention Alliance, Uruguay)
    • Ms Cynthia Callard (Executive Director, Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, Canada)
    • Dr Catherine Egbe (Counselling and Research Psychologist, South African Medical Research Council, South Africa)
    • Prof Anna Gilmore (Director of Tobacco Control Research Group, University of Bath, United Kingdom)
    • Dr Ruth E. Malone (Professor, University of California San Francisco, United States of America)
  • 19:25 Closing of the Leadership Summit on Tobacco Control

    At the end of the event, closing remarks will highlight the key discussions and learnings from the Summit and will set expectations for the upcoming 18th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH).

  • 19:45 Commit to Quit: Research and Implementation of Tobacco Cessation in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (Satellite Session)

    Duration: 60 minutes.

    A session featuring scientists discussing global tobacco cessation surveillance data, including impacts related to COVID-19. The discussion will highlight examples of implementing cessation programs in countries with high rates of people who smoke, and on programs seeking to optimise cessation interventions for people with HIV. A question and answer session will follow discussion.


Stay in the loop

Get updates