Awareness of tobacco industry tactics among tobacco control communities in Thailand and its association with attitudes towards tobacco industry and perceptions of e-cigarettes

10 April 2024

By Roengrudee Patanavanich and Stanton Glantz, BMJ Journals

Abstract

Background Tobacco industry denormalisation is a key strategy recommended by the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control as it is associated with reducing smoking behaviours and positively influencing public and policymakers’ opinion towards tobacco control. However, studies of awareness of tobacco industry tactics among public health players and policymakers in low-income and middle-income countries are limited.

Methods We conducted an online survey of individuals who had been involved in tobacco control in Thailand. Multivariate ordinal logistic regression analysis was used to determine the association between awareness of tobacco industry tactics and different attitudes towards tobacco industry and perceptions towards e-cigarettes, controlling for role in tobacco control and demographics among 441 respondents.

Results Of the respondents, 11.3% had never heard of any tobacco industry tactics, whereas 11.1% had heard of all tactics asked in the survey. Tobacco industry tactics which were less known by participants were intimidation (30.6%) and illicit trade (37.4%). Participants who were more aware of tobacco industry tactics were more likely to have negative attitudes towards the tobacco industry and e-cigarettes. Compared with active experts of the Provincial Tobacco Products Control Committee and provincial public health officials who work in tobacco control programmes, advocates who worked for civil society organisations in tobacco control were more aware of tobacco industry tactics and had less favourable perceptions of e-cigarettes.

Conclusion This study emphasises the importance of educating public health professionals and policymakers about tobacco industry behaviour, especially in the era of e-cigarettes.