In Patricia Lambert's home country of South Africa, tobacco industry executives take shots at the activist by calling her a "neo-Nazi nanny." No matter. Opponents can call her whatever they like, Lambert says, as long as they don't impede her efforts at strict tobacco control. Lambert, director of the legal consortium for Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, warns public health advocates that in order to make strides against tobacco deaths they must know their opposition.
"There is no magic wand," she admits. But three key principals will take nations far in establishing strong control measures: Align with the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), use skill to navigate the political landscape of each country, and keep on guard for opposition because the tobacco industry is strong, powerful and sophisticated. "Hold onto these principals, make them work and shoot for the ceiling," she says. And of opponents? Know their actions. "But remember when a country wants to control malaria," she says, "They don't negotiate with mosquitoes."