The event called “Seminar of Witnesses; four decades in the history of tobacco control in Brazil” was held on November 5-7 in the FIOTEC auditorium. The seminar resulted from a partnership between the Center for Studies on Tobacco and Health (CETAB) at ENSP/FIOCRUZ, the Observatory on History and Health at COC/FIOCRUZ, the FIOCRUZ Department of Health Surveillance and Reference Laboratories, and the Health Surveillance Department of the Brazilian Ministry of Health.

 Vera da Costa e Silva and FIOCRUZ President Nísia Trindade spoke in the opening session. The head of the Convention Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control celebrated the meeting of all those involved in decades of work in tobacco control in Brazil. “We always have a way of contributing to society, regardless of the direction the country takes. We should always be focused on ‘doing’ in order to improve public health and living conditions for the Brazilian population.”

In her speech, Nísia Trindade highlighted the work by CETAB and all the partners in order for tobacco control to be treated as a central issue in Brazil’s public health policies. “I consider this agenda [for tobacco control] essential for ensuring quality of life in all its phases, especially in the field of health surveillance. Besides the applicability to the field of agroecology, when considering alternative crops to tobacco growing and the economic impact that is always discussed in relation to tobacco control policies.”

The event

The seminar’s opening day featured a tribute to the pioneers in tobacco control in Brazil, followed by four roundtables. The first discussed the mobilization of medical societies for the creation the Ministry of Health’s National Tobacco Control Program. The following debate addressed the program’s consolidation and civil society’s participation in its execution.

The afternoon included a debate on the negotiation and implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in Brazil, besides new challenges in the recent history of the implementation of tobacco control in the country.

The program for November 6 and 7 was scheduled to feature specific activities with groups consisting of key witnesses in the experience with tobacco control in Brazil.