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California, trade pacts, tobacco control: lessons to learn

Institution: University of California, San Francisco
Investigator(s): Stella Bialous, RN, MScN, DrPH
Award Cycle: 2016 (Cycle 25) Grant #: 25MT-0033 Award: $365,288
Subject Area: State and Local Tobacco Control Policy Research
Award Type: Mackay CA-Pac Rim Tobacco Policy Sc

Initial Award Abstract
International trade and investment agreements facilitate the trade of goods and services between two or more countries. There is a growing concern that these agreements could interfere with tobacco control by making tobacco products more readily available, or cheaper. The goal of this project is to understand how these agreements, are connected with advancing, or blocking, tobacco control. This project will analyze the role California plays, or could play, both in facilitating or hindering the advancement of tobacco control in the state and in countries that participate in trade agreements in the Pacific Rim region. Chile, Peru and Mexico are the three countries that will be the focus of this project. These countries were selected because they are both California's trade partners and members of two Pacific Rim trade agreements: Alianza del Pacifico (Pacific Alliance), already in force, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which is not yet in force. Other goals of this project are to understand what these trade agreements mean for California; and to describe if, and how, the tobacco industry uses trade as an argument to interfere with tobacco control in the Latin America Pacific Rim countries. This project will gather evidence to discuss what are the policy issues on trade that are relevant to California and Pacific Rim policymaking and tobacco control. Five mentors, who are experts on tobacco control and or international trade agreements, will work with the scholar to provide training opportunities and in depth understanding of the key issues related to trade agreements and tobacco control. Mentors will design individualized training opportunities. Additional training will be obtained through participation in regional and international workshops on trade and tobacco. The scholar candidate is well connected in Latin America, which will facilitate engagement with partners from the target countries. The research findings seek to provide an understanding of the role California could play regionally, and globally in advancing tobacco control. Information will be obtained through the review of public documents, review of related media stories and interviews with key people involved in trade and in tobacco control in California, the three target countries, and globally. There are very few people in California with expertise on trade and tobacco, and this research will allow a mid-career public health professional to gain expertise and build leadership on trade and tobacco in the state. At the end of this project, a set of documents and resources will be prepared to inform advocates and policy makers in California and the Pacific Rim what are the key considerations on trade and tobacco that need to be taken into account in developing policies.