Implementation and enforcement of legislation
Implementation of tobacco control legislation needs to be phased in to smooth compliance by the public. Implementation mechanisms should be complemented by mass media campaigns for awareness raising of public, policy-makers, opinion leaders, enforcement agents and the media.
Aspects of enforcement are crucial without which, a legislation will face implementation challenges. It is also crucial to select the right enforcement authority and mechanism and that varies from country to country. It is important to weigh the pros and cons of using existing legislative enforcement authorities versus the creation of new enforcement authorities and institutions. The enforcing agency should be completely free of any connection to the tobacco industry, competent and sufficiently trained to enforce the legislation effectively, and committed to its success. The enforcement operations may be designed to be undertaken by both a national and local authorities. Partial funding for enforcement could potentially come from fining violators, licensing fees, filing fees, or earmarked tobacco tax revenues. Furthermore, penalties for breach of the legislation need to be tailored to avoid enforcement difficulties and must be serious enough to deter violations but not so excessive as to undermine public support. The procedures used to impose sanctions should meet basic standards of fairness and transparency, and should be consistent with the jurisdiction's legal and constitutional standards of due process of law and procedural fairness.
Compliance monitoring needs to be vigorously enforced. Tools for enforcement monitoring include:
- research and surveillance program to monitor trends and patterns in tobacco use;
- public awareness, epidemiological information and quality of enforcement;
- monitoring mechanisms such as compliance checks and toll-free phone lines for public reporting of violations;
- reporting requirements for tobacco product constituents and additives, as well as industry advertising expenditures;
- inspections, including manufacturing facilities and places of restricted smoking;
- tobacco industry monitoring within the jurisdiction to ensure industry compliance with legislation and other measures;
- and, assessment of fines and or citations issued overtime for non compliance.
However, the best legislation is one that enforces itself, by the public through mass awareness raising that empowers them to support the law and its implementation.
Evaluation of legislation: Evaluation seeks to measure how well a specific law has helped a society to move towards the legislative goals. Process evaluation, includes the evaluation of activities and programmatic experiences and that of immediate programme effects. Outcome evaluation refers to long-term outcomes using essential indicators, recommended indicators and optional indicators. Indicators of success or failure for evaluation purposes include mortality rates, tobacco consumption, smoking prevalence and the prevalence of smoking control policies among others. The success of tobacco control legislation will also depend in part its evaluation, both short term and long-term.