Brunei among nations faring well in tobacco control

Azlan Othman

Governments worldwide are obligated to protect their health policies from tobacco industry interference. Brunei Darussalam has done that effectively, along with five other countries, based on its lowest score, according to the recent Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2020.

Lower scores mean better implementation of Article 5.3 of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), ratified by 180 countries and the European Union.

In calling out the tobacco industry as a vector of disease, Article 5.3 of the WHO FCTC specifically empowers governments to protect their public health policies from vested commercial interests and its guidelines.

Governments have acted to protect themselves with preventive measures, and the Sultanate fared well in this matter, based on its lowest score.

The tobacco industry intentionally interacts with government officials to strengthen their relationship. Having these strong relationships pave the way for partnerships or collaboration.

However, Brunei Darussalam has also done well to curb this problem.

The report said the government of Brunei does not accept policy positions or legislative drafts by or in collaboration with the tobacco industry.

The report said that the Government of Brunei has banned the practice defined by Article 5.3 guidelines of unnecessary interactions with the tobacco industry when government officials attend social functions sponsored by the industry or when the government enters into a partnership with them. All countries, except Brunei, recorded such interactions in 2019.