18 Nov 2009
Multinational tobacco companies pose the biggest barrier to smoke-free laws since they lose billions of dollars worth in sales, according to a recently released Global Smokefree Partnership (GSP) report.
The report, Rebutting the Tobacco Industry, Winning Smokefree Air, details the tobacco industry’s tactics to hold back legislation, alongside the positive impacts of governments, organizations and individuals who are challenging the industry, and winning.
In addition to protecting people from the deadly impact of secondhand smoke, smoke-free laws encourage smokers to quit or reduce their consumption. These laws can stop children and young people from starting to smoke or becoming addicted smokers. They also send a strong message that smoking is socially unacceptable. All of this reduces the tobacco industry’s profits.
From fake “science” to buying influence, and from scare stories to cover-ups, tobacco companies continue to devote their considerable wealth to stopping smoke-free laws in every world region.
The report comes at a critical time. In late 2008, world governments agreed to a series of Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) guidelines based on the understanding that tobacco company interests are incompatible with health, welfare or good causes. These guidelines outline governments’ responsibilities under Article 5.3 of the FCTC on tobacco industry interference. The guidelines are designed to stop the tobacco industry’s dirty tricks, and are essential to winning the battle for smoke-free air.
By highlighting countries that have successfully worked for smoke-free air since the adoption of Article 8 guidelines, the report is testimony to the smoke-free movement and of the guidelines’ importance in developing these measures.