The role of religion in tobacco control interventions
Article: Samer Jabbour & Fouad Mohammad Fouad 2004;82:923-7
19 April 2005 - Dear Sir, I read with interest "The role of religion in tobacco control interventions", an Editorial signed by my former colleague Fatima El Awa (1), and the helpful Policy & Practice article to which it refers: "Religion-based tobacco control interventions: how should WHO proceed?" (2).
In their article, Prof. Jabbour and Dr Fouad warn of the specific risks to WHO of using religion-based interventions to promote health. While wishing every blessing on efforts to reduce tobacco use, may I inverse the ethical reflection? The question would be more pertinent if posed: "Is it appropriate of WHO/EMRO to use public health interventions to promote religion?" Or indeed particular religions?
A real risk to an inter-governmental status and a multilateral health budget would be publicly-funded, institutional proselytising.
- El Awa F. The role of religion in tobacco control intervention. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2004;82:894.
- Jabbour S, Fouad FM. Religion-based tobacco control interventions: how should WHO proceed? Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2004;82:923-7.
Robert Thomson, BA PgCE MSc. Clinical Psychologist, Regional Adviser, Sexuality & Reproductive Health Education and Advocacy, United Nations Population Fund, Country Technical Services Team, Bratislava (email: Thomson@unfpa.org).