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Implementation of tobacco control measures in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, 2008–2020

  • Monshi, Sarah S.1, 2
  • Ibrahim, Jennifer1
  • 1 Temple University, 1301 Cecil B. Moore Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, 19122, USA , Philadelphia (United States)
  • 2 Umm Al-Qura University, Mecca, Saudi Arabia , Mecca (Saudi Arabia)
Published Article
Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy
Springer Nature
Publication Date
Jul 03, 2021
DOI: 10.1186/s13011-021-00393-8
Springer Nature
  • Research


BackgroundThe World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) was developed to assist nations in reducing the demand and supply of tobacco. As of 2020, 182 nations joined the FCTC, agreeing to implement the recommended tobacco control measures. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates (UAE) ratified the WHO FCTC by August 2006. Given the unique political, cultural, and religious context – and known tobacco industry efforts to influence tobacco use- in these nations, a careful examination of the translation of FCTC measures into policy is needed. This study aimed to assess the implementation of FCTC tobacco control measures at the national level within the six GCC countries.MethodWe collected and coded the FCTC measures that were implemented in the GCC countries. We examined trends and variations of the implementation between 2008 and 2020.ResultsGCC countries implemented most FCTC measures targeting the demand for and supply of tobacco, with some variation among countries. Bahrain and Qatar were more comprehensively implementing FCTC measures while Kuwait and Oman implemented the least number of the FCTC measures. Implementing measures related to tobacco prices and eliminating the illicit tobacco trade has slowly progressed in GCC countries. All GCC countries entirely banned smoking in workplaces while three countries implemented a partial ban in restaurants. Only Oman has restrictions on tobacco ads shown in media. There is progress in implementing FCTC measures related to tobacco packaging, cessation, and sale to minors in most GCC countries.ConclusionsGiven the influence of the tobacco industry in the Gulf region, the findings suggest a need for ongoing surveillance to monitor the proliferation of tobacco control measures and evaluate their effectiveness. Efforts required to address tobacco use should correspond to the unique political and cultural background of the GCC countries.

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