The World Conference on Tobacco or Health Webinar Series

The 18th WCTOH will host a series of open-access webinars in the run up to the Leadership Summit on Tobacco Control, due to take place in 2021.

The webinars will provide an accessible online platform for tobacco control leaders and experts to discuss key topics related to the theme of the Leadership Summit on Tobacco Control: Navigating Change. This theme addresses the changing political, economic and social landscape of tobacco control, and conversations will focus around the following key topics:

  • Health consequences of the use of tobacco products and tobacco cessation.
  • Regulatory science and the implementation of tobacco control measures.
  • Understanding the tobacco industry and stopping its interference in policy making.
  • Policies related to the reduction of demand for tobacco and illicit trade.
  • Social justice, the underserved and vulnerable populations.

Previous Webinars

Tackling illicit tobacco during COVID-19 pandemic.

Tuesday 13 April 2021 at 14:00 – 15:00 CET.

Given the growing concern of Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) regarding illicit trade in tobacco products and its role in undermining the potential of tobacco taxes in reducing consumption and increasing revenues, a global solution was adopted in 2012. The opportunities for this new international treaty are evident, but the challenges can’t be ignored either, especially with the circumstances posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. While some countries are trying to overcome challenges with the implementation of the Protocol, others have observed increased levels of illicit trade during the pandemic. Tackling the illicit tobacco trade will not only improve public health, but also safeguard tax revenues so much needed for the recovery efforts.

This webinar will aim at raising awareness about the challenges faced by governments to address the problem of illicit trade, and the importance of adopting and implementing the Protocol in addressing those challenges, especially during the fight with the pandemic that is global in nature.

Watch the webinar recording

Speaker presentations:

Illicit cigarette trade and lockdowns: the case of South Africa by Dr Hana Ross.

India’s efforts to implement the WHO FCTC Protocol to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products by Dr M.G Thamizh Valavan.

Challenges and opportunities for the illicit trade protocol by Mr Luk Joossens.

Can we achieve justice in health? Lessons from population health, human rights and the FCTC process.

Tuesday 16 March 2021 at 13:00 – 14:00 CET.

This webinar will present latest developments in tobacco control with key lessons and recommendations for advancing justice in health. Within the context of treaty frameworks that have been ratified by Parties, the speakers will highlight how to reduce health inequities by identifying opportunities for progressing tobacco control within existing frameworks for population health, sustainable development, human rights, and the WHO FCTC.

Dr Adriana Blanco Marquizo, Head of the Convention Secretariat WHO FCTC, will facilitate discussion between expert speakers Mr Dudley Tarlton and Ms Kelsey Romeo-Stuppy.

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Speaker presentations:

Embedding tobacco control in contemporary justice movements by Mr Dudley Tarlton.

Practical applications of human rights to tobacco control by Ms Kelsey Romeo-Stuppy.

Lessons in how some leading Parties are protecting health policies from tobacco industry interference.

Tuesday 9 February 2021 at 14:00 – 15:00 CET.

Tobacco industry has resorted to new ways of influencing policymaking and policymakers. While the industry transforms its market by introducing new products sustaining the nicotine addiction and its profits, it has also reached out to new actors and intermediaries and created new forums to engage with those who can influence policymaking.

As global concerns for health, environment, human rights and development at large grow; the global community is increasingly seeing tobacco industry committing to large investments into corporate social responsibility. Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) aims to protect policymaking from the tobacco industry’s influence and offer guidance to Parties to overcome barriers and implement the mutually developed guidelines of the Convention.

Facilitated by Prof Elif Dagli, Health Institute Association Turkey, this webinar will bring together expert speakers to showcase the challenges faced and strategies devised to overcome the tobacco industry interference.

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Speaker presentations:

Tobacco Industry response to the WHO FCTC by Dr Stella Bialous.

Protection of health policies from Tobacco Industry Interference Lessons from India by Mr Ranjit Singh.

Tobacco Industry activities during pandemic by Dr Mary Assunta.

Fiscal strategies for financing health services in pandemic times: the case for tobacco tax.

Tuesday 15 December 2020 at 18:00 – 19:00 CET.

In much of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a drastic drop in government revenues coupled with an urgent need to scale up health services – not least to tackle underlying conditions that have exacerbated the pandemic. For tobacco control increases in and improvements to tobacco tax levels and structures represent a win-win: helping drive down smoking rates, while raising much needed revenue

But how much room for improvement is there – in particular during such difficult times – and how much could governments realistically expect to gain in revenue through cigarette tax reform? The webinar will present a new summary report card, by the Tobacconomics team, on countries’ performance to date, showing not just how they are doing on average tax levels, compared to similar countries, but also whether their tax structures are simple and efficient or complicated and open to manipulation by manufacturers.

For tobacco control advocates, another key aspect is to understand the broader health financing picture. World Health Organization member states have committed themselves in principle to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC). But many countries, particularly low- and lower-middle-income countries, have struggled to increase tax revenues sufficiently to achieve UHC in practice. No narrow, commodity specific intervention can close this gap by itself, but the webinar will also explore why taxes on unhealthy goods are increasingly recognised as part of the solution.

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Speaker presentations:

Weathering the COVID-19 storm health taxes and fiscal strategies for health financing by Dr Susan Sparkes.

Improving the health and revenue impacts of cigarette taxes the Tobacconomics Cigarette Tax Scorecard by Prof Frank J. Chaloupka.

Plain packaging: lessons for the next round of implementing countries.

Thursday 29 October 2020 at 13:00 – 14:00 CET.

Plain and standardised packaging removes the potential for companies to use their packs as attractive marketing tools by only allowing the tobacco pack to be presented in one colour, shape, and size designed to be minimally attractive and to maximize the salience of the warning labels. Packs may contain no brand imagery. Post-implementation evaluation has shown that “the overall appeal of the cigarette pack among adolescents and young people decreased, quit attempts increased, health warning label impact increased, smokers were more likely to conceal their packs in public, and none of the unintended consequences the tobacco industry alleged occurred.” Official statistics from Australia found that there were “significant decreases in the prevalence of daily smokers, delays among young people picking up smoking, and a decline in the use of unbranded illicit tobacco.” (Advancing Tobacco Plain and Standardized Packaging in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Advice from Experts).

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Speaker presentations:

Lessons from a decade of legal challenges to plain packaging by Ms Suzanne Zhou.

Experiences and Lessons from countries that have introduced plain packaging by Prof Joanna Cohen.

Thailand’s experience in introducing plain packaging: Lessons for other LMIC by Prof Prakit Vathesatogkit.

Tobacco and COVID-19: understanding the Science and Policy implications.

Tuesday 29 September 2020 at 14:00 – 15:00 CET.

The COVID-19 pandemic, has resulted in more than 26 million cases and over 860,000 deaths so far. COVID-19 has numerous clinical presentations but the most common serious manifestation is severe acute respiratory syndrome. Most patients (80 percent) with infection have a mild illness. The remainder vary widely: but a significant minority need hospitalisation or emergency care, and there is a high mortality rate in this group.

Smoking is well known to have a detrimental effect on the respiratory system, and has now been identified as a risk factor for severe COVID-19 disease. Smoking must be given close attention in the pandemic.

Facilitated by Prof Luke Clancy, Director General of the TobaccoFree Research Institute Ireland (TFRI) Dublin, this webinar will bring together expert speakers to review the science and policy implications of the relationship between tobacco and COVID-19.

Watch the webinar recording 

Speaker presentations:

Smoking and COVID-19: A review of publications to date by Dr Silvano Gallus. 

Smoking, Nicotine, ACE2 and SARS-CoV-2 by Dr Janice Leung.

Tobacco control threats and opportunities during COVID-19 by Dr Catherine O. Egbe.

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