Partnerships for Tobacco Control
program of Essential Action
Essential Action launched Global Partnerships for Tobacco Control (GPTC)
at the 11th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in 2000, to help support
and strengthen international tobacco control activities at the grass roots
level. The program links groups in the United States and Canada with groups
in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Central/Eastern Europe, and assists
them in initiating meaningful shared activities. There are currently more
than 360 groups in 100 countries and 40 U.S. states involved in the program
- including advocacy organizations, youth empowerment programs, local
public health agencies, & consumer rights groups.
What is a "Global Partnership"?
No two organizations
are alike. Likewise, no two partnerships are alike. In the past three
years, Essential Action has assisted groups in forming a wide array of
global partnerships, each suited to the specific needs and interests of
the groups involved. Some groups have embraced long-term one-to-one partnerships.
Others have preferred networking with several organizations that share
a common geographic location and/or interest area. Yet other groups have
collaborated with many tobacco control advocates simultaneously on a specific
short-term project. In general, global partnerships are expected to be
egalitarian, action-oriented, and resourceful in nature.
Action partners groups according to their organization type, current activities,
project interests, target populations, language skills, and geographic
location, keeping in mind the preferences emphasized by groups on their
sign up forms or in follow up correspondence. Our experience indicates
that similar interests, language skills, and levels of enthusiasm are
particularly important "ingredients" for successful partnerships.
Having a specific reason for wanting to work with a group in another country
is also key.
partner groups do?
set their own agenda, so the exact partnership activities vary widely.
Here are a few examples of activities that global partners have engaged
Tracking Big Tobacco's Global Trail. A statewide youth
empowerment program in the U.S. worked with groups around the world
to gather examples of Big Tobacco's outrageous marketing practices abroad.
The project culminated in a statewide summit at which U.S. youth exposed
tobacco corporations' global trail of manipulation and deceit and issued
guidelines to the global tobacco industry. The Spanish-language Telemundo
TV network aired an extensive segment on the summit.
De-linking Tobacco & Movies. A Nigerian journalist
group reported on a British American Tobacco promotional campaign that
featured five Hollywood films for a statewide youth empowerment program
involved in a "tobacco and movies" project. The two groups
subsequently co-sponsored a successful international fax campaign, which
resulted in Warner Bros pledging to contribute a portion of the money
it received from BAT to Nigerian tobacco control groups.
Holding Big Tobacco Accountable. In April 2005, over 100
youth and adult tobacco control advocates from across the U.S. and around
the world (India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Thailand) converged in East Hanover,
New Jersey for Altria's Annual Meeting of Stockholders. Inside, GPTC
participants confronted CEO Louis Camilleri about the company's conduct
worldwide. Outside, a spirited demonstration marked the 50th anniversary
of Marlboro and Philip Morris's global expansion with black balloons,
a "Happy 50th Deathday" cake, and a 15-foot-high Marlboro
pack labeled "50 Yrs of Death."
Sharing Resources. U.S. groups have sent letters to U.S.
embassies asking for permission to send used computers to their global
partners via embassy mail pouch. So far, used computers have been sent
to Senegal and Cameroon this way, and several other U.S. embassies have
indicated interest in supporting tobacco control efforts in their host
international partnerships so important?
industry knows no national borders, and neither must tobacco control advocates
if they are to effectively address the global epidemic of tobacco-related
death and disease. By developing stronger bonds of solidarity between
groups in different countries, the international tobacco control movement
will be better able to challenge the tobacco industry at the local, national,
and international levels.
Partnerships program provides mutual benefits to partner groups. In particular,
the partnerships help groups to frame tobacco control issues in an international
context and to share information and advice across borders. In addition,
they provide an advocacy partner abroad, a feeling of greater connectedness
to the global tobacco control movement, and access to resources. The partnerships
also help U.S. groups monitor Philip Morris' international marketing practices,
as well as reach out to increasingly diverse local populations.
to individual partnership projects, Essential Action encourages groups
to take part in collective activities and action campaigns.
Each month we collect information from around the world on a particular
tobacco control topic, e.g. the tobacco industry's latest marketing strategies,
tobacco's global toll, the cost of a pack of Marlboros in relation to
staple food items. The examples have proven useful for reporters and others
seeking information on international tobacco issues, e.g. "Big Tobacco
Is Accused of Crossing an Age Line," by Greg Winter, New York Times
(August 24, 2001)
Periodically, GPTC groups send us action alerts related to tobacco industry
activities in their country, and we mobilize international letter-writing
campaigns around them. Some examples: tobacco industry sponsored "youth
smoking prevention" programs (Turkey), privatization of state tobacco
monopolies (Thailand), and the use of Hollywood movies in a BAT promotional
campaign (Nigeria). In 2001, letters from GPTC participants convinced
nearly 20 researchers to cut their ties to Philip Morris' External Research
Tracking and Responding to New Tobacco Industry Initiatives · Exchanging
Tobacco Control Materials & Strategies Across Borders · De-normalizing
Tobacco Industry Sponsorship (e.g. Research, "Youth Smoking Prevention")
· Movies & Tobacco Glamour · Trade and Tobacco ·
Community - Based Research · Smoke-free Policies & Legislation
· Women & Tobacco · Media Advocacy · Website
Development · World No Tobacco Day Solidarity Actions ·
"Licensed to Kill, Inc"
TO GET INVOLVED WITH GPTC
If your group is interested in becoming involved with Global
Partnerships for Tobacco Control, send an email to [email protected]
to request a sign up form. You may also download the sign up form: Word,
Partnerships for Tobacco Control
P.O. Box 19405, Washington, DC 20036
Tel: +1 202-387-8030 ~ Fax: +1 202-234-5176
[email protected] ~www.essentialaction.org/tobacco