Tobacco (63) Q4. Do public health professionals and policymakers have adequate knowledge to prevent and treat tobacco addiction in their country? (2)

21 March, 2023

This paper from Gambia finds that 'policy makers’ awareness of polices covered in the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control was limited'.

Below are the citation, abstract and selected extracts. I look forward to your comments. What is the situation in your country?

CITATION: Exploration of Policy Makers’ Views on the Implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in the Gambia: A Qualitative Study

Isatou K Jallow, Msc, John Britton, MD, Tessa Langley, PhD

Nicotine & Tobacco Research, Volume 21, Issue 12, December 2019, Pages 1652–1659,


Background: The World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is the first international health treaty and has now been ratified by 181 countries. However, there are concerns that in many countries, particularly in sub-Saharan African countries, FCTC legislations and implementation are weak. In this study, we report a qualitative study undertaken to assess policy makers’ awareness of the FCTC and national tobacco control policies, and assessed the achievements and challenges to the implementation of the FCTC in the Gambia.

Methods: The study involved semi-structured one-to-one interviews with 28 members of the National Tobacco Control Committee in the Gambia, which is responsible for formulating tobacco control policies and making recommendations for tobacco control. We used the Framework method and NVivo11 software for data analysis.

Results: Our findings demonstrate that the Gambia has made modest progress in tobacco control before and since ratification of the FCTC, particularly in the areas of policy formulation, bans on tobacco advertising and promotion, smoke-free laws, and tobacco taxation. Although several pieces of tobacco control legislation exist, enforcement and implementation remain a major challenge. We found that policy makers’ awareness of polices covered in the FCTC was limited.

Conclusion: Our findings highlight several challenges to the FCTC implementation and the need to step up efforts that will help to accomplish the obligations of the FCTC. To achieve the obligations of the FCTC, the Gambia should develop specific public awareness interventions, establish cessation services, mobilize adequate resources for tobacco control and strengthen tobacco surveillance and research.


The FCTC is particularly important in developing countries, such as those in sub-Saharan Africa, where tobacco smoking is on the rise.

Most people and even smokers will not understand the words in the health warning. So we are advocating for pictorial warning, and that’s a challenge because that’s not captured yet


"Well there are some forms of sensitization going on in radios but this is not adequate, therefore a lot still needs to be done to educate people about the dangers of smoking"

"Because of enforcement it’s the biggest challenge for this policy. We’ve seen even still now hospitals are not smoke free zones."

"Parents and adults send children to buy cigarettes for them and some even go to the extent of asking children to lighten the cigarettes for them."

"Many parents and even the shopkeepers do not know that it’s illegal to send or sell cigarette to children under the age of 18 years. In fact some parents and even retailers don’t even know the harmful effects of smoking and what the health effects of exposing their kids to second-hand smoke."

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of HIFA (Healthcare Information For All), a global health community that brings all stakeholders together around the shared goal of universal access to reliable healthcare information. HIFA has 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting in four languages and representing all parts of the global evidence ecosystem. HIFA is administered by Global Healthcare Information Network, a UK-based nonprofit in official relations with the World Health Organization. Email: