HealthBridge works with partners world-wide to improve health and health equity through research, policy and action.

Tobacco Control & NCD Prevention

Tobacco use is one of the single most preventable causes of death in the world. Given that people of low-income are more likely to use tobacco, and can afford it the least, tobacco use can also greatly worsen poverty. Tobacco cultivation and use also harm the environment. 

Tobacco use is the one risk factor common to four major non-communicable diseases (NCDs): cancers, cardiovascular and lung disease, and diabetes. The other major risk factors for these devastating diseases are: physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and misuse of alcohol.

NCDs are far from ‘diseases of the rich’: In many developing countries, the risk of dying from any of the major NCDs between the ages of 30 and 70 is double or even triple that in a typical rich country.

Fortunately, international experience has shown the most effective way to curb tobacco use: putting in place the measures in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which now has more than 175 Parties. Its measures include raising taxes, implementing and enforcing 100% indoor smoke-free spaces, health warnings, bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship and helping smokers to quit. Full implementation of the FCTC will result in healthier populations and environments,
and will help to eliminate poverty.

Our strategy is to support and promote policy-based solutions for reducing all four NCD risk factors. We support long-term programs to build networks, work with media, conduct research, produce information, and advocate for change. Activities include conducting research on the ways that tobacco and NCDs can worsen poverty and the impact of implementation of best practices on health and economy; conducting media and policy advocacy activities; supporting partners and communities to implement best practice interventions; monitoring and exposing tobacco and alcohol industry interference tactics and producing materials on tobacco control and NCD prevention to support others, including transferring lessons learned from tobacco control to NCD prevention.

Goal

The goal of this program is to reduce the death and illness caused by NCDs, of which tobacco use is a major risk factor.

What we do

Our early work on tobacco and poverty, and ensuring that tobacco control is recognized as a development issue, has expanded to include NCD prevention. There is growing global recognition of the importance of including tobacco control and NCD prevention in national and international development plans.

Our work promotes policy-based NCD prevention, and highlights the importance of learning from the many years of successful tobacco control to inform NCD prevention. We also ensure that tobacco control remains central to NCD prevention, while contributing to the evidence base on the link between NCD prevention and development issues.

Impact

Long-term support from HealthBridge has helped our partners in several countries work with their governments to ratify and implement the FCTC and create strong tobacco control policies; build local networks, and carry out research to strengthen the evidence base necessary for change; and gain global recognition of the importance of including tobacco control and NCD prevention in national and international development plans.

HealthBridge is a founding member of the Vietnam NCD Alliance, established in 2015 to advocate for stronger policy and actions on tobacco and alcohol control. The mission of the Vietnam NCD Alliance is to advocate, promote and support the 9 global targets for NCDs. With the vision that Vietnamese people will adopt healthier lifestyles and Vietnam Civil society will become a key force in promoting development and implementation of best practice policies in NCD prevention in 2030.

In keeping with our strength in alliance building, HealthBridge serves as the Secretariat for the Framework Convention Alliance, an alliance of civil society organizations working toward a world free from the devastating health, social, economic and environmental consequences of tobacco and tobacco use.