Norms, rules and policy tools: Understanding Article 5.3 as an instrument of tobacco control governance

Rob Ralston, Selamawit Hirpa, Shalini Bassi, Denis Male, Praveen Kumar, Rachel Ann Barry, Jeff Collin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, elaborated via its implementation guidelines, can be understood as a policy instrument comprising norms, rules and policy tools designed to shape practices of policy making and minimise tobacco industry interference. Methods: This qualitative research is based on in-depth interviews with officials from diverse government sectors and non-governmental organisations across countries (Ethiopia, India, Uganda) that have adopted measures to implement Article 5.3. Results: The data highlight varied perceptions and knowledge of Article 5.3 norms between health and non-health sectors. Health officials typically link its core norm of a fundamental conflict between public health and industry interests to the governance norm of protecting public health policies from industry interference. While officials in sectors beyond health broadly endorsed this core norm, they exhibited more limited awareness of Article 5.3 and its model of governance. The results examine how rules to implement Article 5.3 have been codified, but identify the absence of policy tools necessary to operationalise rules and norms. This limitation, alongside restricted awareness beyond health departments, suggests that political commitments to implement Article 5.3 will have limited impact on practices of stakeholder consultation and policy engagement with the tobacco industry. Conclusion: Conceptualising Article 5.3 as a policy instrument helps to explain how its rules and policy tools interact with each other and with broader governance processes. This framework has the potential to enhance understanding of Article 5.3 and help identify opportunities and constraints in its implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number057159
Pages (from-to)S53-S60
JournalTobacco Control
Issue number1
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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