President Peter Dorman
Towards the end of November 2010, the parliamentarian committee was close to concluding it’s discussions of the draft law. Through parliamentarians who have become closely linked and connected with the AUB-TCRG, information was that the law has become stronger to some extent. The most noticeable achievement was that smoking and non smoking sections did not exist in the law and instead an article that requires total bans was introduced. In light of this change in commitment by some Parliamentarians and based on a suggestion by one of them the AUB-TCRG decided to reinforce this improvement through an advocacy event.
The AUB-TCRG organized a reception under the auspices of the Minister of Health and in collaboration with the Parliamentary Committee for Public Health, Labor, and Social Affairs, and the National Tobacco Control Program (NTCP). All supporting parliamentarians were invited to a reception and social advocacy gathering.
The reception aimed at showcasing supportive parliamentarians to buttress support for a strong law, to expedite discussions in parliamentary committees to the general assembly for voting, and to get commitment from a good number of other parliamentarians when it reaches the voting stage in the general assembly. The event was opened by the University President, then the Minister of Health, then the head of the Parliamentary Committee for Health, then Dr. Zaatari for the AUB-TCRG and finally the vice president of TFI. Following that, the twenty two attending Lebanese parliamentarians were invited to sign a petition in support of the bill.
Most of the heads of parliamentary blocs had already signed the petition that was also endorsed by the parliamentarians present at the gathering. This gathering is the first of its kind in the history of AUB and tobacco control advocacy in Lebanon. The event was highly covered by 15 local newspapers and news websites, in addition to 4 TV stations who reported the event either in their 8 o’clock daily news or in one of their programs. The event was recorded on DVD for documentation. In addition, DVD’s of news coverage were obtained from STAT-ipsos, an information monitoring agency.