Progress in the Development, Monitoring and Implementation of Tobacco Dependence Treatment Around the World

A pre-conference workshop co-sponsored by and Global Bridges
SRNT Annual International Meeting
March 13, 2013
Boston, MA

The primary goal of this workshop was to present and discuss recent developments in global tobacco dependence treatment and research.

Martin Raw presented “A survey of Tobacco Cessation Support in 121 Countries,” which achieved a 73% response rate. Results confirmed that there is still a great deal of work to do in ensuring that treatment support is available and affordable to tobacco users, especially in low-income countries. Raw says there are four things that all countries should be doing now:

  1. Ensuring tobacco use recording in all medical notes
  2. Addressing the use of tobacco in health care workers
  3. Integrating brief advice into all health care systems
  4. Encouraging licensing of affordable medications

See Raw’s conclusion here.

Workshop attendees also heard from Harry Lando of the University of Minnesota Cancer Center about his work doing capacity building for tobacco control in Tunisia as a case study for an upper-middle income country.

The attendees heard about the impressive growth of from its director, Jacques Le Houezec. is available in 11 languages with a plethora of resources, including treatment guidelines from 28 countries. The site had 53,653 visits in 2012, a number that grows steadily each year.

Ron Borland, professor at VicHealth Centre for Tobacco Control, spoke on the evidence emerging from the ITC project about tobacco dependence treatment. Borland encouraged everyone to consider the use of quitlines, specialist clinics, medications, the potential of the internet, and the importance of knowledgeable health care professionals. “If there’s one thing harder than getting smokers to quit smoking, it’s educating our health professionals.”


Martin Raw, Harry Lando, Ron Borland and Jacques le Houezec formed the morning panel


During the afternoon, Richard Hurt, Director of the Nicotine Dependence Center at Mayo Clinic and Chair of Global Bridges, provided an overview of Global Bridges’ activity since its inception in 2010, and our regional partners in the Eastern Mediterranean, Africa and Latin America presented updates.

Lekan Ayo Yusuf of the University of Pretoria presented on the implementation of Article 14 in the African Region. He and his team trained 468 health care professionals in 2011-2012. The curriculum included policy initiatives, behavior therapy, health effects of smoking and the basics of pharmacotherapy.

Gustavo Zabert presented on his work with the InterAmerican Heart Foundation in the Latin American region, where about 1/3 of the population smokes, and prevalence among physicians is about the same as among the general population. Zabert and his team trained 789 people in 2011-2012, and calculates that this training could ultimately help more than 9,000 smokers quit in 2013.

Lastly, Feras Hawari presented on the work of King Hussein Cancer Center in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Their group has trained 500 health care professionals and advocates in the past two years, and also worked extensively with the local media to raise awareness of the hazards of tobacco use. Learn more about their work here.


Gustavo Zabert, Feras Hawari, Lekan Ayo Yusef and Richard Hurt made up the afternoon panel


J. Taylor Hays, the associate director of the Nicotine Dependence Center at Mayo Clinic, provided a summary of the workshop and identified these next steps in global tobacco dependence treatment:

  • Build capacity among health care professionals
  • Provide treatment to health care professionals and workers who use tobacco
  • Implement uniform recording of smoking status in medical records
  • Pursue low cost treatment (brief advice) and treatments with broad reach (quitlines, internet)
  • Encourage cross disciplinary stakeholders and engagement of individuals and organizations outside of the health care field
  • Recognize the changing demographics and populations of tobacco users

J. Taylor Hays delivers closing remarks.


Global Bridges thanks everyone who attended this workshop and reminds you that, in the words of Robert West, “It would be a tragedy if treatment were left out of the global tobacco control equation.”

Slide presentations from the workshop can be found here.