Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)

Fourth Meeting of the WHO Tobacco Laboratory Network (TobLabNet)

Date: 25-27 March 2009
Place: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The WHO Tobacco Laboratory Network (TobLabNet) is a global network of government, academic, and independent laboratories aiming to strengthen national and regional capacity for the testing and research of the contents and emissions of tobacco products, in accordance with Article 9 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC). Once capacity is established, TobLabNet will be positioned as a primary source of laboratory support, methods development, and scientific information in the areas of tobacco testing and research for national governments to fulfill their requirements and needs related to the WHO FCTC.

The Network's goal is to establish global tobacco testing and research capacity to test tobacco products for regulatory compliance, to research and develop harmonized standards for contents and emissions testing, to share tobacco research and testing standards and results, to inform risk assessment activities related to the use of tobacco products, and to develop harmonized reporting of such results so that data can be transformed into meaningful trend information that can be compared across countries and over time.

At the 4th annual meeting, TobLabNet focused on issues important in the global tobacco control context. Brazil's National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA), the host of the meeting, is one of the founding members of TobLabNet and has been active since its establishment in early 2005. The agenda included discussions related to the use of roll-your-own products in rural areas, topography of tobacco product use and risk perception, toxicant emissions based on use and behavior, methods validation analysis, nicotine and tobacco-specific nitrosamines in tobacco and smoke, and regulation of menthol. In light of the fact that the Article 9/10 Working Group of the Conference of Parties to the WHO FCTC has called on TobLabNet to validate methods for testing and measuring cigarette contents and emissions, the agenda discussed was intended to contribute to the advancement of the Working Group's guidelines for the implementation of Articles 9 and 10.

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