Background and Context: Campaigns of prevention are particularly difficult to develop and fund since it is difficult to show consequences that have been eliminated in such campaigns. Simple metrics can be used to show that projections based on past trends have been altered by campaigns and interventions. This is useful in showing long-term effects, but less convincing in the short term. Longitudinal monitoring of how tobacco control policies have affected smoker views and behaviors have only recently been used in low and middle income countries to monitor how prevention may be achieved and sustained. Thailand is a country where several metrics have been used to measure sustained prevention of tobacco use as a risk factor for cancer.
Aim: Using existing evaluations of policies, funding and research, we aim to show how sustained prevention of cancer through tobacco control has been possible in Thailand.
Strategy/Tactics: Unlike reactive processes, Thailand has attempted to put into place pro-active processes that keep Thailand in the game against an increasingly aggressive tobacco industry. We examine what strategies in core areas of tobacco control have worked best in Thailand.
Programme/Policy Process: Policies and programs that focus on gaps in coverage, funding and knowledge have been adopted including early recognition of legitimate players in building health promoting policies, early recognition that sustained funding is central to sustained action, and early recognition that informed and context-based knowledge is vital to actually implementing and sustaining programs.
Outcomes/What was learned: Despite many difficulties because of shifting political priorities in Thailand, Thai leaders have had to implement both instrumental and structural changes to keep the prevention and promotion focus in addressing cancer as a non-communicable disease. Deconstructing past efforts gives hints to effective strategies, but continually investing in innovative practices is the only way to sustain progress against shifting prevention objectives.