20 new blogs were created during COP3: see the list below. Have YOU considered blogging? It is by far the easiest and most effective way to have an active presence on the internet. Give it a try! Only if you. . .
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"COP 3 - The Conference Blog" - 5 new articles

  1. 20 new blogs created during COP3: not one of them survived. Why?
  2. The final official press release: International Law to combat the tobacco epidemic, People and health over trade and profit
  3. Remembering Ron Davis
  4. What format for the FCA Bulletin on line? PDF or blog format?
  5. La Volonté Politique: unique arme pour l’application de la CCLAT au Sénégal
  6. More Recent Articles

20 new blogs created during COP3: not one of them survived. Why?

20 new blogs were created during COP3: see the list below. Have YOU considered blogging? It is by far the easiest and most effective way to have an active presence on the internet. Give it a try!

Only if you really want to communicate. Not one of those 20 new blogs "survived". Why? Because the people they were created for did not really want to communicate that way (or any other way for most of them). Most probably did not have the writing skills nor any intent to give it a try. As the "donors" and funding organizations did not blog nor insist on their grantees to blog, they had zero incentive. Three years later (this part of the post is written in June 2011) the situation has not changed: tobacco control advocates in Africa don't blog and nobody cares. The result: no communication where an active network of bloggers would have produced an abundance of original and useful content for a very small fraction of the millions that have been largely wasted

The picture, about Puget Sound and Mount Rainier was taken aboard the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island, last leg of my trip home from Durban...

10 blogs were created for the ATSA teams (most still have to produce content).

Burkina: Blog for the Association de santé publique
Union des Associations de Lutte Contre le Tabac
Département de santé publique
Tobacco Free Eritrea
Tobacco Free Ghana
Tobacco Free Kenya 
Malawi: Tobacco Free Malawi
Zambia: Tobacco Free Zambia , ZACA
Senegal:  Le blog d'Eugène Gbedji

2 blogs were created for the new organization African Tobacco Control Alliance, ATCA -ATCA (English) and  ATCA (French) 

8 other African advocates and journalists used the opportunity to start blogging:

Algeria: Soltane Ameur
Senegal: Journalist
Idrissa Ndiaye
Benin: Journalist
Charles Ligan
Cameroun: Journalist
Tih Armstrong Ntiabang
SOS Tabagisme Niger (Inoussa Saouna)
Raid the Gambia, NGO CSO, Tobacco Free Gambia


The final official press release: International Law to combat the tobacco epidemic, People and health over trade and profit

The Third Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP3) to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) drew to a successful close on Saturday in Durban, with the election of the Director General of the South African Health Department, Mr. Thami Mseleku, as its President.

More than 600 delegates from 130 Parties to the Convention as well as representatives of States non Parties and other Observers attended this milestone event in the implementation of a Convention designed to combat the global tobacco epidemic set to kill an estimated 5 million people or more every year.

The Conference achieved a broad range of goals and among the highlights, the Protocol on illicit trade has been addressed, based on the report of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (Article 15 of the WHO FCTC). The Parties paved the way for continuing negotiations aimed at the adoption of the Protocol in late 2010. Beyond public health concern, illicit tobacco trade, including smuggling and counterfeiting, deprives governments of an estimated US$ 40-50 billion every year.

On three different Articles of the Convention, strong and comprehensive guidelines have been adopted in order for countries to:

    -  protect their public health policies from the interference of the tobacco industry (Article 5.3 ), which is pushing aggressive tobacco marketing particularly on children and the developing world, and continuing to fuel the conflict between profit and health;

    -  ensure that truth about tobacco use be properly reflected in packaging and labeling of tobacco products, using picture-health warnings that the entire society, including the less literate, can readily understand (Article 11);

    • Ban advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products nationally and across borders (Article 13), which, according to overwhelming scientific evidence, increase tobacco use, especially among children and youth. Thus, the Parties agreed that there is nothing that can be called corporate social responsibility for the tobacco industry to promote its deadly product.

Other major issues have been addressed such as the link between tobacco and poverty and a working group has been set up to explore and recommend policy options on economically sustainable alternatives to tobacco growing.

The governments also set up a working group dedicated to elaborate guidelines on tobacco dependence and cessation.

As the first session of the COP being held in Africa, this meeting bore also a strong regional dimension. The continent has been experiencing an explosive increase in the tobacco epidemic targeting the most vulnerable. Also, large areas of it are wholly dependent on tobacco as a cash crop and yet tobacco growing is not yielding enough money to buy food for subsistence and viable livelihoods. During last week’s international negotiations on tobacco control, the African countries have thus been particularly vocal in encouraging governments to demonstrate a genuine commitment to producing results.

Finally, COP3 adopted the next budget and work plan as well as discussed financial resources and mechanisms of assistance to help the developing countries to successfully translate into action at national level their obligations and commitments under the Treaty.

The Conference decided that its next session will be held in Uruguay in 2010.

All the guidelines and documentation of the meeting can be found at : www.who.int/gb/fctc

Media contact : Brenda Abrar-Milani, abrarb@who.int , Tel. +41 22 791 1637 / Mobile : +41 79476 70 88


Remembering Ron Davis

Davis_190 Back at home I am looking through my emails and I find a message from Ron's CarePages, the blog like service he and his family used to communicate during his illness. Reading the short message posted on this New York Times blog, I realize I have not yet written what I intended to, my small personal tribute to him.

My first memory of Ron is when I visited him in his small office in Rockville, near Washington DC when he was the Director of the Office of Smoking and Health, probably in 1989 or 1990. I was looking for free anti-tobacco videos I could use in France in case I had the opportunity to have some free space on TV.
Ron very gently and efficiently provided me with a series of TV clips and later on when I did get some free TV space he helped me get the professional format and the copyright authorizations.
He was therefore instrumental in helping the French tobacco control advocates air their first public service announcements in the early 90s. We used several clips devoted to second-hand smoke and children, an issue that at that time had then never been addressed on French TV. We also recycled some printed material for a campaign focusing on raising the awareness about smoking in a car with children present. To this date no such campaign has happened again.
Thousands of leaflets were distributed in the gas stations network of the French oil company ELF (since bought out by TOTAL) as part of an out of court settlement: I had threatened to sue them because they had distributed small F1 cars with the Gitanes name of them, a breach of the tobacco control law. In compensation they  paid for the creation and distribution of the "Don't smoke out your children" leaflets during World No-Tobacco Day in May 1991. We aired the TV clips at the same time.
Years later I was surprised to find people who still remembered this campaign.
In 1994 during the World Conference in Paris, Ron invited me to join the board of editors of the  Tobacco Control Journal he was launching. I had the most enviable position: in charge of the cartoons as Far Side Editor (a position later and still occupied by Stan Shatenstein). I remember not everybody was happy that cartoons were to be included in the Journal: they thought it was not serious, etc. I was elated because I knew the first thing most people read are the comics and of course a good picture is worth a thousand words. Ron obviously enjoyed and appreciated good cartoons and in fact he did most of the job. We can thank him for having introduced them into a scientific journal. To this day they remain what I read first within Tobacco Control.
Thank you again Ron for all you did, all over the world: la paix soit avec toi.

Philippe Boucher

Executive Director of the French National Committee for Tobacco Control (1991-1997)


What format for the FCA Bulletin on line? PDF or blog format?

First let me start by heartfelt congratulations for all those who have contributed to publish day after day the FCA Bulletin: we owe them a great debt for an excellent job of communicating with the COP3 participants. The pdf format is what makes the printing of the bulletin possible so it is obviously a necessary choice for this task.
But when one considers those who are not attending physically COP3 and read the Bulletin on line, I'll argue that the most appropriate/effective format would be/is a blog format.

As I just mentioned, the PDF format is  for printing purposes, not for internet reading or use. A position all internet usability specialist hold as exemplified by Jakob Nielsen's classic text.

When compared to a blog format, pdf has many disadvantages.

Let me show you with a simple example, the article by Massamba Diouf about the situation in Senegal that I just posted: This article is on page 4 of the Bulletin 85 of Saturday November 22. How do I access it if it is only available in a pdf format?

I have to figure out it is in this issue, then open the pdf file devoted to the whole issue and look for the page 4. Once there I cannot select a link that would allow me to share it directly with another advocate: it remains stuck within the pdf file for the whole issue. I cannot easily copy it.

If the article is posted on a blog dedicated to the Bulletin, it has a distinct url that can be accessed directly without having to read through the whole issue. I can instantly copy it.

Google will reference the article separately and you'll be able to tag it with various specific and relevant categories like Senegal, Massamba Diouf, that will facilitate and improve the results of a search.

Years from now it will still be very easy to retrieve it.

As a tobacco control advocate who relies on the net to collect and process information I can only continue to suggest to the dedicated people who put together the Bulletin to also publish it on line in a blog format.

This will not add any extra time to their task as the blog can -of course- be open to each contributor who can therefore post herself/himself directly without requiring the assistance of an editor.

An added benefit will be that each contributor experience the effectiveness of blogging for communicating on line.

If the blog format has so many advantages, why are our dedicated friends who publish the Bulletin only in a pdf format not making this choice?

I have no explanation and it is for you to ask them, gently as they are certainly still recovering from their valuable efforts.

Those efforts deserve more and better than a pdf format only.

They also deserve a blog format so that once each conference is over, once the only way to access the bulletins is on line, it can be done easily.

During the conference I had the opportunity to introduce many advocates to the beauty of blogging and to help create several new blogs.

I was stunned to find that many still thought a blog format was something reserved for the expression and sharing of personal feelings, not a professional publishing tool.  The reality is that  you can use a blog format for any content: the format is content neutral.

Why are so many and diverse organizations using blogs?

I can only say: give it a try and reiterate that if you want my help doing so, I remain available.

Just email me.

And thank you again for the 6 excellent bulletins published during COP3.

Philippe Boucher

Conference Blog Editor


La Volonté Politique: unique arme pour l’application de la CCLAT au Sénégal

Les pays signataires de la Convention Cadre pour la Lutte Anti Tabac sont actuellement réunis en Afrique du Sud sous les auspices de l’Organisation Mondiale de la Santé afin de prendre des mesures décisives pouvant conduire à l’application de certaines de ses dispositions parmi lesquelles, l’article 11 qui porte sur Conditionnement et étiquetage et l’article 13 portant la publicité, la promotion et le parrainage.

     Aujourd’hui, plusieurs pays comme le Sénégal, qui ont ratifié cette Convention depuis 4ans, n’ont pas encore montré une réelle volonté politique de veiller à l’application effective de ces articles et ceci malgré les promesses que ne cessent de faire les différents ministres en charge de la santé.

Par Massamba Diouf

En effet, nous nous rappelons que,  sous la pression des lobbies du tabac très influentes, le Gouvernement  du Sénégal  a modifié la loi 81.58 du 09 Novembre 1981 en adoptant la loi 85.23  du 25 février 1985 signant le retour de la publicité, des pratiques  promotionnelles  et de parrainage du tabac par toutes les formes de communication excepté  par voie de la télévision.

     De plus, le Sénégal compte déjà trois grands fabricants de cigarettes que sont la MTOA, PM et la BAT et les relations ambigües que ne cessent d’entretenir nos autorités avec l’industrie du tabac ne peuvent que inquiéter les acteurs de la lutte anti tabac..

     Par ailleurs,  le projet de loi annoncé par le Président de la République visant à augmenter les taxes sur le tabac n’est pas encore arrivé sur la table des députés ; est-ce un recul ? 

     Et pourtant, la situation du tabagisme au Sénégal ne cesse d’empirer avec de plus en plus de jeunes filles qui fument et d’analphabètes qui n’ont aucun moyen d’information sur les méfaits du tabac. Il ne faudrait pas perdre de vue que :

  • 57% de la population a moins de 20 ans.
  • l’enquête de GYTS (Global Youth Tobacco Survey) de 2007 a montré que : 11.4 %  des élèves interrogés ont déclaré avoir reçu gratuitement une cigarette offerte par les agents commerciaux de l’industrie de tabac ;
  • 12.0%  des élèves garçons fument  régulièrement la cigarette contre 3.1% des jeunes filles
  • une autre étude réalisée en 2004 a montré qu’au Sénégal 71% des garçons âgés  de 10 à 20 ans fument ;
  • Enfin, d’après   un sondage mené auprès de 100 individus par l’Association Vie   et Santé (AVIS) sur l’Article 11 de la CCLAT, a montré   que 97% des fumeurs achètent le plus souvent la cigarette au détail. Le   sondage s’est déroulé du …..au …..dans la région de …..auprès   des jeunes de….à ….des milieux scolarisés ou/et pas.

Par ailleurs, selon toujours le sondage mené par l’Association Vie et Santé (AVIS) :

  • 89% des enquêtés   pensent que les images d’avertissement à la santé peuvent contribuer   à décourager les fumeurs
  • 97% pensent que   le gouvernement devrait prendre ces mesures relatives à l’article   11 pour empêcher les gens de fumer et pour arrêter les ravages du   tabac ;
  • Selon l’enquête   GYTS 86.2% des jeunes fumeurs ont essayé d’arrêter de fumer.

En conclusion, après plusieurs années de travail de proximité, il se révèle que , outre l’effort de la société civile, qui mérite d’être soutenue , d’une façon dynamique et cohérente, l’accent doit être mis , avant tout sur la culture d’une véritable volonté politique.

L’effort doit conduire à l’implication des hommes et femmes politiques qui sont à même de faire avancer les causes car la réalité africaine ne laisse pas de place à d’autres alternatives durables.

C’est cela qui sera le véritable catalyseur pour le succès de la lutte antitabac en Afrique

Une chose reste évidente pour nous les acteurs de la lutte anti tabac, en faisant ainsi une petite évaluation de la situation, il n’y a que la volonté politique qui pourra mener à l’application des dispositions de la CCLAT et ceci quelques soit la puissance de l’industrie du tabac.

Massamba DIOUF : Président de l’Association Vie et Santé (AVIS)

Email : avisenegal@gmail.com / massdiouf@gmail.com


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