The Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control

Big tobacco slowing FCTC implementation

Tobacco Watch 2012 report cTobacco industry influence over countries’ tobacco control plans is blocking a key tool in fighting killer diseases like cancer, says a report released by the Framework Convention Alliance (FCA).

In September 2011, world leaders singled out tobacco control as key to tackling the skyrocketing global burden caused by non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which include cancer, cardiovascular diseases, chronic lung diseases and diabetes.

The FCA report, Tobacco Watch: Monitoring Countries’ Performance on the Global Treaty, documents various industry activities in numerous countries that are Parties to the first modern-day global health treaty, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

Such activities contravene measures in the Convention’s Article 5.3, and its Guidelines, on tobacco industry interference. For example, half of the national NGO partners that collected research indicated that the tobacco industry is running so-called corporate social responsibility (CSR) campaigns in their countries.

The World Health Organization has called tobacco industry CSR “an inherent contradiction”, and FCTC Article 5.3 Guidelines call on Parties to reject such initiatives. Multinational tobacco companies often use CSR activities to circumvent advertising bans, allowing them to positively brand themselves without explicitly promoting a tobacco product.

A ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship is included in the FCTC.

“Tobacco industry activities like those reported in Tobacco Watch do more than violate Article 5.3 of the FCTC: they impede progress on implementing all other measures in the Convention, which are proven to be effective and cost-effective,” said FCA Director Laurent Huber.

“In fact, the Political Declaration of the United Nations NCD Summit recognised the key role of tobacco control in combating NCDs – which account for 60 per cent of the world’s deaths – and specifically recommended accelerating implementation of the FCTC,” Huber added.

According to Yul Francisco Dorado of Corporate Accountability International: “This year’s Tobacco Watch reminds us that the primary challenge the treaty faces is not a lack of political or public will, but a defiant, invasive, and ultimately deadly industry. Ending tobacco industry interference is paramount to the success of the treaty at large."

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