Using Evidence in Policy and Practice: Lessons from Africa
The marketing of tobacco products in poor countries is intensifying. Despite their commitment, in 2010, the 15 countries that make up the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) were still far from a legislative environment conducive to tobacco control. This case study focuses on the application of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in West Africa, and how the use of action research to generate evidence and the creation of consensus between the different stakeholders involved in tobacco control can change policy. The process was supported through an action-research process led by the Consortium for Economic and Social Research, based in Senegal, working closely with ECOWAS. Research was conducted in each country, tax rates were modelled, and the situation and possible taxation rates workshopped with stakeholders, including members of the ECOWAS legislature. The evidence produced and the actions undertaken have contributed to the adoption of a new law on tobacco control in Senegal and a new directive on the taxation of tobacco products in the ECOWAS area, which is now better able to comply with the provisions of the FCTC.