The AUB Tobacco Control Research Group (AUB-TCRG) in partnership with Lebanese civil society succeeded in pushing the Lebanese Parliament to adopt the first comprehensive tobacco control policy in Lebanon’s history on August 17, 2011.
The law has been in and out of discussion since 2004 but was greatly enhanced and strengthened over the last two years thanks to persistent advocacy by the AUB-TCRG and its civil society partners. Professor Rima Nakkash, assistant professor at the Department of Health Promotion and Community Health and coordinator of the AUB-TCRG, said that this milestone was achieved following a staunch campaign by wholehearted supporters who believe in the importance of the law and in its positive impact as one of the most essential components of a comprehensive strategy for tobacco control in the short and long run. “It is a breakthrough in health policymaking in Lebanon, due in large part to the effort led by AUB-TCRG and its civil society partners. It is a fine example of how academic researchers can influence policymaking and lead to a change,” she added.
The news about the “passage of the law” was well-reported by the media, at the national and international levels. AUB’s contribution, along with that of the NGOs IndyAct and The Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI), was acknowledged by the media, policymakers, civil society, and the public. “Resources that supported this advocacy drive and the generation of research evidence is from the generous support of our principal funder, Canada’s International Development Research Centre,” said Nakkash. However, she acknowledged that the greater challenge now is for actual implementation and enforcement of the law. “We will continue to work on that by disseminating research findings that highlight this issue,” Nakkash noted.
Other upcoming AUB-TCRG campaigns include disseminating research evidence that supports implementing policies for raising taxation on tobacco products.
The mission of the AUB Tobacco Control Research Group (AUB-TCRG) is to promote public health by producing and disseminating evidence-based tobacco control research, while its objectives expand to include international, regional, and national levels.