Chronic diseases and health promotion

Part Four - Taking action: essential steps for success

Chapter One: Providing a unifying framework - the role of government

Legislation, regulation. Spotlight: Smoke-free laws

As reviewed in Part Three, legislation and regulation are fundamental elements of effective public health policy and practice. Specific legislative and regulatory policies that enhance prevention and control of chronic diseases include measures that:

  • ban tobacco smoke in all indoor places;
  • enforce bans on sales of tobacco products to youth;
  • incorporate mandatory health warning labels on tobacco products;
  • enforce tobacco advertising bans (including sponsoring of sports and cultural events);
  • mandate appropriate labelling for foods sold in the domestic market, including warning statements, nutrient claims and nutrition information profiles;
  • ensure that people with chronic disease and disabilities are accorded full human rights.
Implementation steps and suggested milestones:

STEP 1 CORE: Tobacco control legislation consistent with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is enacted and enforced.

STEP 2 EXPANDED: Food standards and food labelling legislation is enacted. Action is taken to limit and control food marketing and advertising to children, to discourage availability of high fat, high salt and high sugar foods for children, and to promote eating of fruits and vegetables.

STEP 3 DESIRABLE: Legislation is enacted to protect the rights of people with chronic disease and disability.

Spotlight: Countries with smoke-free workplace laws

Smoke-free workplace legislation is being enacted in many countries to protect workers from being forced to breathe tobacco smoke.

  • Bhutan has imposed a nationwide ban on smoking in all public places, including restaurants and bars.
  • Cuba has passed legislation to ban smoking in offi ces, stores, theatres, buses and taxis, schools, sports facilities, and air-conditioned public areas.
  • India has passed legislation to ban smoking in public places, tobacco advertising in the media, and sales to minors.
  • Ireland has a nationwide smoke-free workplace law, including pubs, bars and restaurants. Polls show high rates of acceptance and compliance.
  • New Zealand has smoke-free workplace legislation that applies to pubs, clubs, restaurants, and school grounds.
  • Norway has smoke-free workplace legislation that applies to bars and restaurants.
  • Italy has implemented smoke-free workplace legislation in all enclosed public spaces, including restaurants and bars.
  • Hundreds of localities in Australia, Canada and the United States have implemented smoke-free workplace laws.