Wishing You a Happy and Smoke-Free Holiday!
As I sit to write this message, I cannot believe it has been over a decade since I joined ASH. So
much has happened both internationally and right here at home, that time just seemed to fly.
In looking back over this past year, I am moved to express my gratitude to the hardworking people who comprise the ASH team. Our small but mighty staff has fought tirelessly to curb the tobacco epidemic and their work is pushing us toward a smokefree world. They are working to ensure that tobacco control is included in global plans for economic development, to push for exemptions for tobacco in free trade agreements, to monitor the activities of the tobacco industry to expose its interference with health regulation, and to push for strong implementation of the world’s first public health treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Quite a tall order indeed. But if successful these actions could tip the balance in favor of health and against the tobacco industry.
And I would be terribly remiss if I neglected to recognize our amazing donors, because it is their dedication that inspires us and their generosity that supports our daily efforts. Yes, I am referring to every single one of you now reading this newsletter, and I am extending to you my deepest appreciation.
People who work at charitable organizations often say their mission is to eventually work themselves out of a job. They hope that their work is so effective that it cures the problem and is no longer needed. We at ASH envision a world free from the devastation, disease, and death cause by tobacco.
We dream that no one ever has to breathe second-hand smoke, that no one ever loses a loved one to tobacco-related diseases, and that low income countries can thrive in the absence of the greed of the tobacco industry.
Yet, even with all ASH has accomplished, there is still much to do. That is why we continue to fight and why your unwavering support is needed more than ever.
I know I speak for everyone here at ASH when I wish you a happy, healthy, and smoke-free holiday season.
ASH Key Achievements 2013
ASH is proud of its achievements over the past year and excited to continue our work with our allies, partners and supporters to fight against tobacco in 2014. Below are just a few of the highlights and programmatic achievements from 2013.
ASH continues to be instrumental in the development and ongoing implementation of the tobacco treaty, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The treaty has already made great strides in public health and ASH will maintain its work and leadership of the global coalition of hundreds of organizations that ensure that the treaty is as strong as possible and widely implemented. Read more about the tobacco treaty here>
ASH was present at the United Nations General Assembly in September to promote the inclusion of tobacco control in global sustainable development. Tobacco control’s role in sustainable development has not yet been formally recognized, and ASH’s role continues to be critical in ensuring global health for the future. ASH plans to maintain its presence at the United Nations and to work with key UN Missions, public health and global development allies, and the health cluster of the NGO Major Group to continue pushing for the inclusion of tobacco control regulations as a global priority. Read more about tobacco and sustainable development here>
As we do our final edits, negotiators are in Singapore at the last planned round of negotiations, attempting to hammer out a final deal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Those of you who have been following us know that in August Malaysia made an unprecedented proposal for a full exemption – or carve-out – for tobacco regulations under the treaty, protecting public health measures from legal attack by the tobacco industry. So far, it has held firm against U.S. pressure to retreat. ASH will continue to arm officials and advocates with legal analysis as we enter the “end game”. Read more about tobacco and trade here>
ASH worked to further expose questionable industry practices by launching the Tobacco Marketing Map, which tracks tobacco industry marketing across the globe. This project monitors a very specific tactic used by the industry to circumvent marketing restrictions. The industry funds certain charitable causes, then self-promotes and cleverly refers to this marketing as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). There are over 60 countries in which the tobacco industry operates its CSR programs specifically to circumvent tobacco marketing restrictions. ASH will continue to monitor industry practices and remain ready to combat industry activities, including corporate social responsibility and political campaign contributions. Check out our Tobacco Marketing Map here>
This year we started a new video series: Real Talk Tobacco (RTT). In this series, our Campaign Coordinator, Shana Narula, expertly and concisely explains all our areas of work at ASH from trade, to global development, to NCDs and more! We are always taking suggestions for new videos. If you want to know about a particular tobacco related topic, contact email@example.com and we’ll make an RTT video.
- New York City signed into law a bill that prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from buying tobacco products. Read the full article here>
- Louisiana passed a law that prohibits smoking on the grounds of all Louisiana college campuses. Read about campus smoking bans here>
- The governors of Oregon and Utah signed laws that ban smoking in motor vehicles in which children are a passenger. Read about smoke free cars here>
- The First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld two Providence, Rhode Island public health laws that prohibit companies from selling flavored products and offering price discounts. Read the decision here>
- Massachusetts, Minnesota and New Hampshire raised their cigarette taxes. They are now all above the national average tax for cigarettes. Read more here>
- Chile became the 14th Latin American country to ban smoking in public places. Read more about the law here>
- Bangladesh enacted a new law that strengthens the country’s efforts to reduce tobacco use by banning sales to minors, including pictorial warnings on cigarette packaging and increasing the fine for smoking in public places. Read more about the law here>
- Latvia’s legislature revised its laws in order to protect a child’s right to grow up in a smoke-free environment. Read about the amendment here>
- Malaysia proposed full immunity from litigation for tobacco regulations in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the first such proposal in trade negotiation history. Read more about the carve out here>
- Russia signed into law a new comprehensive tobacco control act that requires 100% smoke-free indoor public places, restricts tobacco marketing, and limits where tobacco products can be sold. Read more about the law here>
4th Quarter TC in the News
Letters to Obama: State Legislators and Representatives urge Obama to Promote Health
In October state legislators sent a joint letter to President Obama to urging him to implement U.S. trade policy that supports state and federal policies to reduce tobacco use and promote health (Read the letter from state legislators here). This was followed by a letter from Representatives Waxman, Doggett, Capps and over 50 members urging the Administration to strengthen its tobacco proposal in the TPP. Read the letter from Representatives here>
The New York City Council voted with an overwhelming majority to raise the tobacco-purchasing age from 18 to 21. The recent vote makes New York the biggest city to bar cigarettes sales to 19 and 20-year olds, and one of only a few places throughout the Unites States that has tried to stymie smoking among young people by raising the purchasing age. Read the full article here>
Electronic cigarettes have boomed in popularity over the last couple of years, according to New York City’s health department, but a plan to regulate the plastic devices in the same fashion as their paper counterparts has set up a debate about the untested products. Read the full article here>
A new Lancet report on global health strongly argues the implementation of tobacco control measures, especially increasing tobacco taxes.
Titled Global Health 2035: a world converging within a generation, the report argues the “returns on investing in health are impressive. Reductions in mortality account for about 11% of recent economic growth in low-income and middle-income countries.” Read the full article here>
A letter citing 32 public health organizations was sent to U.S. Ambassador Michael Froman (Office of the United States Trade Representative) from ASH and the Center for Policy Analysis on Trade and Health urging his support of a tobacco carve out from trade agreements. Read the letter to Ambassador Froman here>
Kelsey is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law where she received a JD as well as a certificate in International and Comparative law. During law school, Kelsey worked as a law clerk for the Office of the Public Defender in Howard County, MD. She was selected to represent the University of Pittsburgh in two international moot court competitions: the Niagara and Jessup International Moot Courts.
Kelsey has been recognized for her legal research, writing, and advocacy. The law school faculty named her to the Order of Barristers, an organization that honors oral advocacy and brief writing skills. She was also awarded the CALI Excellence for the Future Award in Legal Research and Writing and won an international writing competition, the M.W. McLean International Law Writing Award.
Kelsey grew up in Columbia, MD and is a proud graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park where she earned her BA degree with a double major in Government and Politics and Criminology and Criminal Justice. Go Terps!
In her free time, Kelsey loves the beach, traveling, camping, and spending time with her husband, her family, and her dog, Gatsby. Check out Kelsey’s blog covering various legal issues concerning tobacco control>
ASH has started a new blog series entitled “Why I Fight”. Now is the time to tell the world why we fight, every day, in every language, in every community, and why we won’t give up until every community is tobacco-free and the tobacco industry is only known through history books. Check back periodically as ASH staff members, supporters and other tobacco control advocates share what motivates them to continue the fight against tobacco. We encourage you to share your stories with us! Write to firstname.lastname@example.org and join the conversation.
This year, your support of ASH will make twice the difference thanks to a few very generous donors who will match every donation, dollar for dollar, up to $50,000 until January 1, 2014. Your generosity will prevent twice as many deaths, will serve as twice the advocacy, and will have twice the impact for the tobacco control movement. Please help us stand with health by combating the tobacco industry, ensuring effective tobacco control measures are in place, and continuing our life saving work. Please stand with health and help us continue our lifesaving work of combating the tobacco industry!