The Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control

Industry’s dire warnings deconstructed

by Grieve Chelwa, PhD Candidate, University of Cape Town

In late October 2012, a study conducted by NKC Independent Economists was released that attempts to measure the primary elements of the tobacco value chain in 15 African countries that are part of the COME SA/SADC /SACU * regional blocs. The study was commissioned by the Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa (TISA), a body representing the tobacco industry in the region.

The study’s release coincides with the Fifth Conference of Parties (COP 5) in South Korea and is most likely meant to influence deliberations around Articles 17 and 18 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Articles 17 and 18 speak to issues of alternative livelihoods and the protection of the health of workers engaged in the growing and processing of tobacco.

The aim of this short write-up is to critically engage with some of the findings of the TISA study, as well as to question the methods used by the study.

Travel cuts threaten poor countries with more tobacco exposure

The world’s poorest countries could face more exposure to unrestricted tobacco use and promotion if proposed funding cuts within the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) go ahead.

The FCTC is considering cutting its funding for delegates from poorer countries to attend international meetings. These cuts (supported by the EU, Canada and Australia) will threaten the participation of over 80 countries in future FCTC meetings like the Conference of the Parties (COPs).

176 Parties to the FCTC, not 27

(taken from Thursday's FCA COP5 Bulletin)

The development of guidelines for implementation of Article 6 is one of the most important items on the agenda of COP5. Tax increases are the most effective mechanism to reduce tobacco consumption and simultaneously finance tobacco control and public health activities.

Article 6 of the Treaty recommends: “implementing tax policies and, where appropriate, price policies, on tobacco products so as to contribute to the health objectives aimed at reducing tobacco consumption”. The treaty is clear: the objective is health, by reducing tobacco consumption.

While the treaty text sets out the principles, the guidelines are required to assist Parties in the implementation of effective systems.

Australia ranks first with labelling

canadian society reportMore than 60 countries now require graphic cigarette package warnings with Australia ranking the highest in terms of progress on labelling, an international report by the Canadian Cancer Society found.

The report ranks 198 countries and territories on the size of their health warnings on cigarette packages, and was released today at the fifth session of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) being held in Seoul, South Korea from November 12 to 17.

COP5 parties must adopt taxation and illicit trade measures


At a press conference in Seoul on Friday, the FCA called on countries to fight the global tobacco epidemic by adopting landmark measures on taxation and illicit trade at the upcoming fifth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP5) to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

The session takes place in Seoul, Republic of Korea, from 12–17 November 2012, and will comprise representatives from governments (Parties) that have agreed to implement a range of tobacco control measures in the FCTC – from putting graphic warnings on tobacco packages, to banning tobacco advertising, and creating smoke-free spaces.

Success! Seychelles approves graphic package warnings

The Seychelles government has approved new graphic health warnings on tobacco packages, which must cover at least 50 per cent of the package's front and back.

The regulation was formally published in the Official Gazette on 1 October 2012.

Governments must challenge Big Tobacco

This week, a European association of tobacco growers called UNITAB will be holding their 33rd Congress in Budapest, Hungary. This is one of several tobacco growers’ association events this year organised to attempt to undermine a lifesaving global public health treaty, which could save 200 million lives if fully implemented by 2050.

Corporate Accountability International (CAI) is calling on the Hungarian government and governments around the world to stand strong in their efforts to address the tobacco epidemic and condemn this global misinformation campaign. To learn more, read the full CAI press release.

Latest pictures: September - October 2012

Every month Framework Convention Alliance members work hard in the fight for global tobacco control.

View the slideshow to see what our members got up to during September and October 2012. Click the picture to read the caption.


Success! Three years of advocacy helped produce tobacco control measures in Ukraine

All tobacco packages in Ukraine now have pictorial warnings on the front and back, following a new law which came into place 4 October 2012.

The law requires all tobacco packs to have pictorial health warnings that cover 50 percent of the back side, and text messages covering 50 percent of the front side. Previously, packs in Ukraine had a 30 per cent text message on both sides.

Read the full story

Sri Lanka adopts huge picture warnings

SriLanka warningsSri Lanka has passed regulations that mandate some of the largest picture warnings on cigarette packs in the world.

The warnings will cover 80 per cent of the front and back of packages; the text portion of the warning will be in three languages - Sinhala, Tamil and English.

The regulations also ban the use of misleading descriptions, including 'light', 'mild' 'low', 'extra' and 'ultra'.

Once implemented, Sri Lanka will have among the largest cigarette health warnings in the world, along with Australia at 82.5 percent (75 percent front, 90 percent back), and Uruguay at 80 percent (80 percent front and back).