Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)

Other key issues relating to the legislative process


Strategic choices for development of legislation

A country will need to assess its preparedness before embarking on a legislative scheme. The assessment may need to cover the political environment and sustainability of support for the legislation. An important choice is whether to pursue a comprehensive legislation for tobacco control or proceed step by step, adding the components of the programme overtime. Comprehensive legislation has proven successful in many countries that have pursued this option, for example, Norway, Poland, South Africa and Thailand. However, where political impediments inhibit the development of comprehensive legislation, it is possible to commence by incremental legislation such as tax increases, smoke-free public and work places or warning labels. (8) Sometimes, countries may need to weigh the options of pursuing national or sub-national legislation. Furthermore, statutory law may be used for tobacco control legislation but could be complemented by administrative regulations usually adopted by the Minister or government official empowered to do so.

Pre-emption: This concept is based on the idea that a national government possesses a country's law making authority and can prevent or strip the law-making powers of subordinate units of government through express or implied legal powers. In countries with federal governmental systems, the tobacco companies have actively supported legislation that prohibits lower level legislative authorities from enacting regional or local legislation that would be stronger and supersede national legislation. For example, pre-emption arguments were used to invalidate tobacco control legislation in State of Massachusetts in the United States and in the State of New South Wales in Australia.

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Other key issues relating to the legislative process

  1. Capacity building
  2. Strategic choices for development of legislation