Background and Context:
Tobacco use represents one of the most significant threats to global health. To meet this challenge, the National Institutes of Health, Fogarty International Center (FIC), and its partnering Institutions at NIH, established the International Tobacco and Heath Research and Capacity Building Program (TOBAC). The program has sought to encourage trans-disciplinary research in tobacco control, increase collaborations between investigators in the U.S. and researchers and institutions in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), and strengthen research capacity for tobacco control research.
After 10 years of investing in tobacco control projects, FIC conducted a review of the program, and identified outputs, outcomes and impacts.
Data for analysis came from NIH databases including: NIH RePORT, eSPA, MEDLINE, SPIRES+, IMPAC II and QVR. Trainee, capacity building, publications, research, collaborations, and policy impact data were extracted from individual annual progress reports and final reports, submitted to NIH between 2002 and 2011.
TOBAC projects have generated evidence that has informed policy in LMICs, such as smoke-free spaces, taxes on tobacco products, cessation interventions and tobacco industry advertising.
Outcomes/What was learned:
The review found that the TOBAC program has produced scientific collaborations in tobacco control research in over 30 countries. The projects have resulted in the publication of more than 400 peer-reviewed articles. More than 3,500 individuals have been trained in tobacco control research through long-term mentorship, workshop support and/or short courses. Of those trained more than 100 were PhD and Masters level. TOBAC projects have successfully provided empirical evidence on almost all articles of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the first public health treaty ever negotiated under the auspices of WHO.
The success of the projects funded demonstrates the ability of a relatively small number of research grants to advance tobacco control efforts on an international scale.