"A contradiction between our state and the tobacco company": Conflicts of interest and institutional constraints as barriers to implementation of Article 5.3 in Bangladesh.

SM Abdullah, Tracey Wagner-Rizvi, Rumana Huque, Sushama Kanan, Samina Huque, Rob Ralston, Jeffrey Collin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Bangladesh has not yet adopted measures to implement Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The National Tobacco Control Cell (NTCC) has drafted a guideline for implementation, but progress has stalled amid high levels of tobacco industry interference in public policy. This paper examines the barriers to minimising industry interference in a context of close relationships between government officials and tobacco companies.

Methods: In-depth interviews were conducted with government officials, representatives from civil society, think tank and media organisations, and academic researchers. The data were analysed using a '3 Is' framework developed within the political sciences, emphasising the interactive role of ideas, interests and institutions in policy change.

Results: The findings indicate that policy ideas about protecting public health policy making from tobacco industry interests are largely restricted to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and the NTCC specifically. Both individual and institutional conflicts of interest emerge as key barriers to progress to minimising industry interference and for tobacco control governance more broadly. The data also suggest that development of an Article 5.3 guideline has been shaped by the perceived interests of political actors and institutions, and the institutional position of the NTCC, constrained by limits on its resources, authority and isolation from other ministries.

Conclusion: NTCC's initiatives towards implementing Article 5.3 constitute an important opportunity to address conflicts of interest that restrict tobacco control in Bangladesh. Progress in minimising industry interference is essential to realising the commitment to being smoke free by 2040.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)s33-s38
JournalTobacco Control
Volume31
Issue numberSuppl 1
Early online date25 Jan 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

Keywords

  • tobacco
  • Article 5.3
  • tobacco control legislation
  • Bangladesh

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