Needs Assessment in Tunisia: a new bill for tobacco control

Tunis, Tunisia
14 July 2017

From left to right: Dr Ouhichi (WHO Country Office), Dr Audera-Lopez (WHO FCTC), Dr Mostafa, Dr Musavuli (WHO FCTC), Dr El-Awa (WHO Regional Office), Dr Ghedira (Ministry of Health)

In order to support the country to identify the objectives still to be accomplished under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), the Convention Secretariat, the Ministry of Health of Tunisia, the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO) and WHO Country Office conducted a joint needs assessment mission from 10 to 13 July 2017. The mission was aimed at establishing a baseline of needs that Tunisia requires to fulfill its obligations under the Convention and came up with a set of recommendations for the country.

Tunisia is a tobacco growing country and, looking at the Global Progress Report 2016, it has a 48.4% prevalence of male smokers. The Ministry of Health is determined to reduce this rate through the full implementation of the WHO FCTC.

The country has demonstrated progress and commitment in its work to curb the tobacco epidemic, an engagement that is confirmed through the draft of a new comprehensive tobacco control bill that will be submitted to the Assembly of People’s representatives for adoption. This will include a smoking ban in public areas, graphic health warnings in tobacco products, ban on advertisement and sponsorship, among other measures.

The Convention Secretariat is supporting the adoption of the law by providing arguments about the positive impact that this would have on state budget balance, and also recommended the ratification of the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products and changes to the taxation system that is not yet aligned with the WHO FCTC recommendations. The aim is to increase tobacco taxes so as to decrease its affordability.