Objective: Evaluate the impact of the FCTC negotiations on the diffusion of tobacco control policies.
Methods: Analyzed country characteristics to determine their effects on the frequency, type and strength of tobacco control policies adopted among WHO Member States. Bivariate analyses were conducted for each characteristic to compare the frequency and strength of control policies adopted between pre-negotiation and negotiation periods. Multivariate regression analyses were performed to determine the predictive nature of these variables.
Results: The frequency of policy adoption intensified during the years the FCTC negotiations were most intense. The strength of policies adopted also shifted significantly towards policies promoted by WHO. The average strength of policies adopted varied significantly according to country characteristics. All characteristics, with the exception of total and male smoking prevalence, were significantly associated with the number of policy types adopted.
Conclusions: This study suggests that investments in international legal processes can be effective, even when the outcomes are unclear from the start. The FCTC negotiation process coincided with a rise in domestic policy adoption in the direction advocated by WHO. However, there remains a need to improve outreach and diffusion to lower-income countries in tobacco control, as well as other areas of chronic disease control.
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