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 2015. Below are just a few of the highlights and programmatic achievements from 2014.
- Blocking tobacco industry attempts to derail the negotiations of the Tobacco Treaty (FCTC): The global tobacco treaty has been a catalyst for global change, and since its entry into force, many countries around the world have begun implementing its life changing measures. This year, the 179 countries that are Parties to the World Health Organization (WHO) treaty met to negotiate key guidelines to assist with the implementation of one of its most important measures: price and tax measures to decrease the use of tobacco. The tobacco industry tried to block the adoption of these guidelines. However, ASH coordinated a coalition of 100s of non-governmental organizations from around the world that were able to unite in blocking the tobacco industry’s attempts to derail the negotiations, and these very important guidelines passed without changes. Implementation of these efficient price measures will keep cigarettes away from children and will motivate millions of smokers to quit.
- Including tobacco control in United Nations draft Sustainable Development Goals: ASH’s campaign at the United Nations in New York resulted in the inclusion of a tobacco control target in the draft United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that will replace the Millennium Development Goals. These Sustainable Development Goals will be negotiated until September 2015. If we are able to keep tobacco as a target, it will elevate tobacco control measures to help stop the tobacco epidemic and will become a priority at the national level in most countries around the world.
- Educating the public health community on the implementation of effective tobacco policy: ASH launched two groundbreaking reports (“Avoidable Death” and “FCTC Implementation Guide”) for public health professionals on the progress that has been made since the first Surgeon General’s (SG) Report on Smoking in 1964, and on the conclusions of what still needs to be done from the 2014 SG report. Our Implementation Guide is a tool to implement effective policy measures, and the associated database is a fantastic resource for those efforts. The use of our guide and database could have resounding implications for U.S. tobacco control policy in all 50 states.
- Working for unique treatment of tobacco under 2 massive free trade agreements: ASH continued its efforts to achieve unique treatment for tobacco under two milestone free trade agreements being negotiated: the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Success will mean that the tobacco industry will be denied new privileges and rights under the agreements, such as the right to directly sue governments (including US state and local governments) over measures to reduce tobacco use. Following our extensive work to organize an international coalition of support, ASH learned that the US intends to propose excluding tobacco from at least the investment chapter of the TPPA, thus stopping industry lawsuits. If the proposal becomes part of the eventual agreement, it will fundamentally change, for the better, the landscape for the relationship between trade rules and the fight against the tobacco epidemic, especially since the TPPA has been touted as the “model 21st century trade agreement.”