Participants in the journalist workshop on tobacco control in Hanoi, Vietnam
The American Cancer Society conducted a journalist workshop on tobacco control for 28 journalists last May 5-6 in Hanoi, Vietnam. The Tobacco Control Journalist Fellowship Program was supported by Atlantic Philanthropies, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, and VINACOSH, a Vietnamese tobacco control organization and partner of the American Cancer Society. The training began with a press conference sponsored by the World Lung Foundation, highlighting the success of its television tobacco control media campaign. This was followed by an advanced media training program. Tuyet Ha-Iaconis, Vietnam program manager, American Cancer Society, and her team developed the program to foster discussions between journalists and representatives of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), enabling them to share key information and messages that they in turn can provide to villages and provinces about the dangers of tobacco. Tobacco control experts in Vietnam participated in roundtable discussions with journalists on issues such as smoke-free areas, health warning labels, tobacco tax, and tobacco advertising. The two-day workshop included presentations by American Cancer Society staff Danny Ingram, chief staff officer, Strategic Initiatives, High Plains Division; and Evan Blecher, economist, International Tobacco Control Research. There was also a visit to the National Cancer Hospital in Hanoi, where participants were able to interact with cancer patients and their families. A team of media professionals helped to facilitate the training, including Vu Manh Cuong, deputy editor-in-chief, Lao Dong newspaper in Vietnam; Mary Cardaras, a former CNN producer; and Gita Pullapilly, a former US and global journalist. The 28 journalist fellows will continue to report on tobacco control issues in Vietnam and receive guidance and feedback from global health and tobacco control experts throughout the year.