Cigarette companies desperately trying to stop smoking bans

Cigarette companies desperately trying to stop smoking bans

I am so grateful to be able to do what I do.  I live in a country where you can choose your vocation.  You can choose who you work for.  Imagine being in a situation where you only had one option in your community, and that was working for a tobacco company.  How hard would that be?

Yesterday was “World No Tobacco Day” and the World Health Organization gravely warned us all about the wide-ranging efforts of the tobacco industry on public health initiatives.  As in, the tobacco companies are desperately trying to stop the decline in smoking and the public bans all across the world.  They will use any means necessary to achieve this (even though it is doomed to failure).

This is driven by greed, fear, power and unwillingness to change, even if our very survival depends on it.  It is sad, tragic, disgraceful and pathetic as cigarettes are the most effective way to kill humans ever invented.  More people die from cigarette-related illnesses every year than any other cause.  Many of these are innocent children.   

The WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said in a press release In recent years, multinational tobacco companies have been shamelessly fueling a series of legal actions against governments that have been at the forefront of the war against tobacco.  The industry is now stepping out of the shadows and into courtrooms.  We must now stand together with these governments that have had the courage to do the right thing to protect their citizens.” 

I applaud this brave and direct woman in every way.

The 2003 WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), as endorsed by 175 countries says we must “protect public health policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry”.  MedPage Today ran a great article on this listing the following things that must be done.

The World Health Organization says the tobacco industry is engaged in:

  • Manoeuvring to hijack the political and legislative process
  • Exaggerating the economic importance of the tobacco industry
  • Manipulating public opinion to gain the appearance of respectability
  • Fabricating support through front groups
  • Discrediting proven science
  • Intimidating governments with litigation or the threat of litigation

The World Health Organization says countries should do the following:

  • Limit interactions and disclose all meetings with the tobacco industry
  • Reject partnerships and nonbinding agreements with the industry
  • Refuse funds and other support
  • Reject industry endorsement and participation in youth initiatives
  • Refuse to grant incentives, privileges, or benefits to the industry
  • Create firewalls against interference by the tobacco industry on public health

 I agree with every single word.  The world was once tobacco free.  It can be again.  

As reported by MedPage Today on May 30, 2012.


Posted: Friday 1 June 2012