4th ICO-WHO Symposium on Tobacco Control “Bridging the Gap between Research and Policies in Tobacco Control”

 In Activitats, ICO-WHO

The 4th ICO-WHO Symposium on tobacco control “Bridging the Gap between Research and Policies in Tobacco Control” was held on 3rd December at the Catalan Institute of Oncology. This year edition had more registrations than previous editions showing a consolidation of this event.

Dr Geoffrey Fong from the University of Waterloo opened the symposium with the inaugural conference that was focused on the importance of advancing, evaluating and defending tobacco control policies through research. The speaker concluded that interventions at the population level are key to target the epidemic of smoking, that the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control is a useful tool for this purpose if it is fully implemented and, finally, that the impact assessment of the policies implemented so far shows that stronger policies must be implemented to move forward in this field.

The second speaker, Dr Angel López Nicolás of the Polytechnic University of Cartagena, spoke about the result of the research carried out on the evaluation of tobacco products taxation. The presentation elaborated a diagnosis of what are the main problems of the taxation policies indicating that one of the problems is the price differences between manufactured cigarettes and roll-your-own cigarretes and the lack of convergence in the price between the Member States of the European Union . Fortunately, however, the conference did not end here and the speaker offered the audience some plausible solutions to the problem. First, to reinforce the minimum quantity of taxes proposed by the new Tobacco Taxation Directive, and secondly, that Member States of the EU should improve these reforms by using higher minimum thresholds in their internal policies.

Later, Dr Ute Mons from the German Centre for Cancer Research spoke about the impact of research on advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products for tobacco control. The speaker concluded that the effects of advertising are complex and multidimensional, control groups are difficult to establish, and that some of the policies have an indirect or long-term effect. In addition, she stressed the fact that a single method or study design can not provide all the necessary evidence on the causal inference of the effects of advertising and the effectiveness of advertisement bans and, finally, that it is necessary to obtain a sufficient body of evidence through multiple methods or designs.

In the afternoon, Dr Constantine Vardavas of the Hellenic Cancer Society spoke about electronic cigarette research and national and EU legislations. His presentation was about the epidemiology of the consumption of e-cigarettes and other products of combustion of nicotine and on the legislation contained in the Tobacco Products Directive.

Next, Dr Xisca Sureda of the University of Alcalá, spoke about the role of researchers in the advocacy of tobacco policies. Her advice, from the experience, is that researchers should think about projects that are relevant for tobacco policies, they must be prepared to show the data and evidence available at the right time and, finally, they have to be always accessible through the information media, politicians and stakeholders.

The symposium continued with a roundtable between PhD students and the speakers at the conference with mutual questions to learn from each other. Finally, Dr Esteve Fernàndez, President of the ICO-WHO Symposium, and Anna Clopès, General Director of the Catalan Institute of Oncology concluded the symposium with final remarks and observations.

Ariadna Feliu

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