New Report Calls for Action on Tobacco Industry Interference in Public Health Policies

10 Oct 2019

Download Press Release in Arabic

Ottawa, Canada, 10 October 2019 – Countries around the world still allow the tobacco industry to sit at the policy table, despite their obligations under Article 5.3 of the World Health Organization Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) and its guidelines.

This is the conclusion of a report published today by STOP (Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products), a global tobacco industry watchdog.

Article 5.3 of the WHO FCTC states that: “In setting and implementing their public health policies with respect to tobacco control, Parties shall act to protect these policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry in accordance with national law.”

While some governments (United Kingdom, Uganda and Iran) have shown leadership in protecting health policy from industry meddling, others (Japan, Jordan, Egypt and Bangladesh) allow high levels of influence.

The new report says that countries must act to put a firewall around government officials and protect public health policies from tobacco industry interference by “ensuring greater transparency when dealing with the tobacco industry and adopting a code of conduct for government officials reduce industry interference.”

“The STOP report adds to a growing body of evidence demonstrating that there is still a lot of work to do around the world, with regards to the full and effective implementation of the WHO FCTC,” said Francis Thompson, Executive Director, Framework Convention Alliance.

“This report shows that the tobacco industry is as underhanded as ever. It may claim that it is changing in public, but behind the scenes it is fighting tooth and nail to sabotage effective regulation. Governments must stand firm and fulfil their mandate to protect public health,” said Mary Assunta, lead author of the Index, Head of Global Research and Advocacy at Global Center for Good Governance in Tobacco Control and a partner in STOP.

The Framework Convention Alliance (FCA) authored the country report for Jordan and found that tobacco companies or front groups have interfered with public health policy development since the country ratified the WHO FCTC in 2004 and developed its first Tobacco Control Law in 2008.

The country report for Jordan outlines a (non-exhaustive) list of recommendations to strengthen and accelerate the implementation of proven tobacco control policies:

  • Exclude the tobacco industry from “investments benefits” provided to other sectors,
  • Ban tobacco industry sponsorship and corporate social responsibility activities,
  • Limit interactions (by Ministries and institutions such as the Jordan Standards and Metrology Organization) with the tobacco industry, and
  • Ensure the transparency of interactions between government institutions, employees at all levels of government and the tobacco industry (or its front groups).

Philip Morris International (one of the five major tobacco companies operating in Jordan) is particularly adept at getting the endorsement of various levels of government for their so-called corporate social responsibility activities in Jordan.

With high levels of tobacco smoking prevalence in countries such as Jordan and Indonesia, the new report is a clarion call for action on the decades-long efforts by the tobacco industry to undermine public health policies.

  • Read and download specific country information here.

ABOUT

Framework Convention Alliance works to rid this world from the devastating health, social, economic and environmental consequences of tobacco and tobacco use. With hundreds of non-government member organisations from over 100 countries, the Alliance grew out of civil society’s participation in the work that produced the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2005, the first modern-day public health treaty. We are a leading advocate for including the FCTC and tobacco control in the international health and development framework, including the Sustainable Development Goals. The Alliance is an influential voice for civil society at the FCTC Conference of the Parties.

Contact: Mafoya Dossoumon, dossoumonm@fctc.org, Tel: +1 613 241 3927 x303

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