Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)

Watching and countering the industry


Understanding the tobacco industry's practices is crucial for the success of tobacco control policies. In this context, it's important also to understand that tobacco products are the only legally available products that can kill up to one half of their regular users if consumed as recommended by the manufacturer. In recognition of this reality, WHO, following the Member States' mandate, monitors and draws global attention to the activities and practices of the tobacco industry. It does so in conformity with World Health Assembly Resolution 54.18 and the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).

There are two significant components of this monitoring process: surveillance and regulation.

Under surveillance, WHO engages in ongoing efforts to monitor, and to counter, as appropriate, activities of the tobacco industry to interfere with public health policy-making. It also publishes reports and maintains a database of activities, efforts and campaigns by the tobacco industry to undermine global tobacco control.

Under regulation, WHO, through its networks, assists in efforts to regulate the contents and emissions and the packaging and labelling of tobacco products. Two of these networks are the WHO Study Group on Tobacco Product Regulation (TobReg), established in 2003 by the Director-General, and the WHO Tobacco Laboratory Network (TobLabNet), established in 2005 in line with the aims and objectives of the WHO FCTC.