March 10, 2021

Tobacco Industry Monitoring Research and Accountability

I am excited to be working with the University of Bath to scope future opportunities for their Tobacco Industry Monitoring Research and Accountability (TIMRA) programme. The TIMRA programme was developed as part of the University's commitment to the STOP initiative, a global tobacco industry watchdog working to expose the tobacco industry's underhand tactics to undermine tobacco control and derail public health policy.

Researchers, academics and activists who work in tobacco control agree that the biggest threat to reducing the death-toll brought about by smoking is the tobacco industry's interference in public health policy. Although the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control obliges participating countries to protect their populations' public health against the 'vested interests of tobacco companies', the influence of the industry remains pervasive.

Understanding these tactics, applying effective research techniques to expose and undermine them, telling compelling stories about how the industry operates and staying safe in the process, are vital skills for people working to bring about effective public health policies. This is what the TIMRA course aims to facilitate.  

Some of the ways in which I will be contributing to the development of TIMRA include:

  • Scoping the possibilities for accreditation
  • Exploring options for delivering the course at MSc level within the University's existing postgraduate degrees, as a short course and as a free online module
  • Looking at delivering the course externally on a cost-recovery/profit-making basis

This week I have been looking at other courses that support change-makers to conduct evidence-based research and influence policy. I have also been preparing to get in touch with the 90 or so alumni who have taken the course to learn first-hand which skills have proved most impactful in the field. If you're interested in learning more about my work with the STOP initiative, you can read about the 2020 STOP Partner Conference here.

For papers, insight, strategy, updates and the latest news about tobacco control, the Tobacco Tactics website is the perfect place to start.