Systematic tobacco industry interference and the need for comprehensive tobacco control interventions require collaboration among a wide range of stakeholders. Innovation and less-obvious partnerships are key to addressing the evolving challenges raised by new tobacco products.

The complexities of tobacco control interventions necessitate collaboration among a multitude of actors. Challenged by systematic tobacco industry interference, a wide range of local, regional and international civil society partners, international health and development government agencies, local and national government ministries, and private businesses have partnered together to confront and counter the tobacco industry. The results to date have been a mix of many different types of partnerships and a growing body of evidence of what works and what does not.

For 16 years, Vital Strategies (VS) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) have worked together to produce this important resource, The Tobacco Atlas, for the public health community. In hindsight, the fruits of this enduring partnership can be largely attributed to an alignment of interests, skills and needs between the two organizations. More specifically, they both:

  • Are passionate about tobacco control and see the value in the resource they are producing;
  • Bring different yet complementary skills and expertise to the partnership;
  • Have strong subject matter expertise and similar enough views on issues that allow them to avoid major differences of opinion or find acceptable and appropriate compromises;
  • Bring resources to the partnership making neither wholly dependent on the other;
  • Like, trust, and appreciate each other; and
  • Can make key decisions together and follow timelines effectively.


A recent outcome from this successful partnership is that the two organizations have banded together again to support the global cancer community in their efforts to raise the profile of tobacco taxation as a cancer prevention strategy through the Prevent20 Coalition. Among other things, ACS and VS plan to monitor progress and outcomes to share successes and lessons learned from the partnership and encourage other risk factor and disease-focused groups to emulate achievements for further impact.

Each day there are new opportunities to innovate as a tobacco control community that require less-traditional partnerships to address important evolving issues. Establishing stronger linkages among the tobacco control, global health and development communities has been recognized as an important priority. Regulating new tobacco products also presents a complex set of challenges that will require sustained collaborative and cooperative efforts.

Prevent20 Members and Friends

Prevent20 is a global coalition of cancer groups calling on governments to raise tobacco taxes, the single most effective tobacco control intervention. Prevent20 aims to serve as a community of practice and create a platform conducive to the establishment of meaningful partnerships.

These partners working closely with stakeholders across WHO FCTC parties, particularly tobacco control focal points and members of tobacco control intra-governmental coordinating mechanisms, to capture best practices (and worst nightmares) for multi-sectoral approaches to successful tobacco control.

Photo Credit: Article 5.2a Africa Report courtesy UNDP and WHO FCTC Secretariat