Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
The World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control sets guidelines for interaction between governments and the tobacco industry, to limit industry interference with tobacco control and health policies.
According to a report by ASH Australia:
- So far 170 countries have ratified the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC) – an international treaty that includes a specific obligation to protect public health policies from interference by the tobacco industry and related interests.
- Article 5.3. states: “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.”
- Parties to the FCTC agree there is a “fundamental and irreconcilable conflict” between tobacco industry interests and public health policy interests.
- Article 5.3 Guidelines, developed to support Parties in implementing the FCTC, elaborate on effective measures for addressing tobacco industry influence and interference in public health. These are minimum requirements and treaty parties are urged to enact measures beyond the guidelines, which apply to:
- Officials, representatives, and employees of any government or semi/quasi-public institution or body responsible for, or that contributes or could contribute, to developing or implementing tobacco control policies, and to any persons acting on their behalf. (Guidelines, para. 9-10)
- The tobacco industry (as defined by FCTC Art. 1), whether or not organisations are privately- or government-owned, and entities, associations, and individuals that represent it or work to further its interests. Government should do the following to implement Article 5.3:
- Raise awareness that tobacco products are addictive, deadly and that tobacco smoke causes disease, disability and death. (Rec. 1.1)
- Disseminate knowledge of the industry’s tactics of using individuals, front groups, and affiliated organisations to further the tobacco industry’s interests. (Rec. 1.2)
- Limit interactions with the tobacco industry to only those necessary to effectively regulate the industry and its products. When tobacco industry interactions are necessary, they should be conducted transparently in public through hearings, notices of interactions, and disclosure of records. (Rec. 2.1, 2.2)
- Reject any partnerships, non-binding or non-enforceable agreements and any voluntary arrangement put forth by the tobacco industry or its allies or where such agreements are offered as a substitute for legally enforceable measures. (Rec. 3.1, 3.3)
- Reject any offer for assistance or proposed tobacco control legislation or policy drafted by or in collaboration with the tobacco industry. (Rec. 3.4)
- Prohibit tobacco industry involvement in any youth, public education, or other tobacco control initiative; prohibit involvement, in any manner, in initiatives directly or indirectly related to tobacco control. (Rec. 3.2)
- Avoid conflicts of interests for government officials and employees.
- Ban political contributions by the tobacco industry, or alternatively, require their full disclosure. (Rec. 4.11)
- Prohibit tobacco industry payments, contributions, gifts, and services to government institutions, officials, or employees (except payments mandated by law).
- Bar tobacco industry representatives, or any entity acting to further tobacco industry interests, from membership of any body, committee or advisory group that sets or implements public health policy. (Rec. 4.8)
- Require the tobacco industry to publicly report activities and practices, and impose mandatory penalties for providing false or misleading information: e.g. registration of lobbyists and payments to them for production, manufacture, market share, revenues, lobbying, philanthropy, political contributions, other activities not yet banned; and other specified activities and practices (e.g. payments to scientists/ researchers, journalists; for research, conferences, etc.). (Rec. 5.2-5.5)
- Denormalise and regulate purported “socially responsible” activities by the tobacco industry - e.g. no endorsement, support or formation of partnerships with the industry, and correction of any perceptions of partnerships created by it. (Guidelines, para. 20; Rec. 6.1-6.4)
- Do not provide incentives, privileges, benefits or exemptions for the tobacco industry. (Rec. 7.1- 7.3)
- Monitor activities of the tobacco industry - by nongovernment organisations and other members of civil society not affiliated with the industry. (para. 32, 33)
Framework Convention Uruguay
According to the Tobacco Reporter, in January 2011 after the meeting in Punta de Este, Uruguay, the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control agreed to recommend restricting or banning flavour additives. Delegates from the 172 signatory countries to the FCTC also agreed the following recommendations:
- support Uruguay in its legal defence against Philip Morris International, which says the country has violated a trade agreement by requiring graphic warning labels
- establish a working group to develop guidelines on taxing tobacco in ways that might reduce consumption and provide continued funding for the tobacco-control programme
- recommend that smoking-cessation programs be paid for by national health systems and that governments train experts to help more smokers quit
British American Tobacco's Response
BAT on its website called the guidelines incomplete. "In the rush to force these guidelines through, regardless of whether or not they were finished, governments have been left with a confusing and unhelpful document which offers them no direction on what to do next". Michael Prideaux, director of corporate affairs at BAT, continued "Not only this...lacking in any scientific evidence to support that they will have the intended impact on public health."
- Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, World Health Organisation, 2003
- ↑ Anne Jones and Stafford Sanders, "Countering Tobacco Tactics", Action on Smoking and Health Australia, 2010, accessed 7 June 2011
- ↑ See WHO reporting database for details
- ↑ World Health Organisation, "Framework Convention on Tobacco Control", 2003, accessed 7 June 2011]
- ↑ Tobacco Reporter, Framework Convention Uruguay meeting short on useful ingredients, January 2011
- ↑ British American Tobacco, "Vague guidelines on tobacco ingredients offer no guidance for governments", British American Tobacco website, 22 November 2010, accessed 10 February 2012