To measure the implementation of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Article 5.3 at country level using a new Tobacco Industry Interference Index and to report initial results using this index in seven Southeast Asian countries.Methods
Score sheet based on WHO FCTC Article 5.3 Guidelines sent to correspondents in seven Southeast Asian countries, using a scoring system designed with the help of tobacco control experts and validated through focused group discussions.Results
The seven countries ranked from the lowest level of interference to the highest are Brunei, Thailand, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. Countries that face high levels of unnecessary interaction with the tobacco industry also face high levels of tobacco industry influence in policy development. Most governments do not allow any tobacco industry representatives on their delegation to sessions of the Conference of the Parties or its subsidiary bodies nor accept their sponsorship for delegates, but most governments still accept or endorse offers of assistance from the tobacco industry in implementing tobacco control policies. Most governments also receive tobacco industry contributions (monetary or in kind) or endorse industry corporate social responsibility activities. Governments do not have a procedure for disclosing interactions with the tobacco industry, but Lao PDR, Philippines and Thailand have instituted measures to prevent or reduce industry interference.Conclusions
This Tobacco Industry Interference Index, based on the WHO FCTC Article 5.3 Guidelines, is a useful advocacy tool for identifying both progress and gaps in national efforts at implementing WHO FCTC Article 5.3.