Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Hearing: Tobacco Addiction and the Right to Health



ASH: Megan Arendt /

O’Neill Institute: Karen Teber /

FIC Argentina: Patricia Gutkowski/

WASHINGTON, DC (March 29, 2016) — For the first time, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights takes up tobacco use as a human rights issue during a hearing on Tuesday, April 5, 2016Press Kit

The tobacco epidemic has become one of the world’s — and the Americas’ — gravest public health concerns. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one million people in the Americas die each year from tobacco use, while hundreds of millions more are at risk of tobacco-related diseases. Tobacco companies throughout the region continue to aggressively market cigarettes and interfere in tobacco control measures. The O’Neill Institute, ASH, and FIC Argentina will present to the commission about the harms of tobacco, industry interference, and the impact of tobacco marketing on targeted and vulnerable groups. The three organizations will recommend that the commission consider tobacco control as an important measure in pursuit of the highest attainable standard of health.


Hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights: tobacco and the right to health in the Americas


Oscar A. Cabrera, The O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University, Washington DC

Chris Bostic, ASH > Action on Smoking and Health, Washington, DC

Kelsey Romeo-Stuppy, ASH > Action on Smoking and Health, Washington, DC

Verónica Schoj, Fundación Interamericana del Corazón Argentina

Belén Rios, Fundación Interamericana del Corazón Argentina


Tuesday, April 5, 2016; 10:15 – 11:15 am

Interviews can be scheduled with the experts before and after the hearing.


GSB Building of the Organization of American States (OAS)

Padilha Vidal Room

1889 F. Street, NW

Washington, DC 20006


Media pre-registration is not necessary, but members of the press will be required to register prior to entering the OAS building.


This hearing is scheduled to be broadcast live via the IACHR website.







Written testimony from all participants will be posted April 5 at the following links:

O’Neill Institute/Cabrera

ASH/Bostic and Romeo-Stuppy

FIC/Schoj and Rios




Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is the nation’s oldest anti-tobacco organization dedicated to health for all. ASH was formed in 1967 in response to the U.S. Surgeon General Report in order to use legal action to fight tobacco and protect nonsmokers. Today, because tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide, ASH uses global tools to counter the global tobacco epidemic. Learn more about our programs at

Follow us on Twitter @ASHOrg and Facebook

Fundación Interamericana del Corazón Argentina (INTERAMERICAN HEART FOUNDATION- ARGENTINA)

The Inter-American Heart Foundation is a non-governmental non-profit organization dedicated to reducing heart diseases and stroke, and related non-communicable diseases, in Latin America and the Caribbean region, and to promote health through research, advocacy, public awareness and education. It has members and affiliates in almost all countries in the region.

Follow us on Twitter @ficargentina and on Facebook 


The O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University is the premier center for health law, scholarship, and policy. Its mission is to contribute to a more powerful and deeper understanding of the multiple ways in which law can be used to improve the public’s health, using objective evidence as a measure. The O’Neill Institute seeks to advance scholarship, science, research, and teaching that will encourage key decision-makers in the public, private, and civil society to employ the law as a positive tool for enabling more people in the United States and throughout the world to lead healthier lives. Add website and social media contacts.

Follow us on Twitter @ONeillInstitute and on Facebook

Posted in , , | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why don’t smokers quit?

The evidence is clear: smoking is horrible for your health, and quitting benefits not only your health, but your wallet. These things are fairly obvious, and non-smokers often ask the same question: “Why don’t smokers quit?”

In fact, about 70% of all smokers want to quit. In any given year, nearly half try to quit. Few of them succeed. Quitting is difficult for many reasons, such as advertising, social pressures, and/or failure to use cessation tools effectively. But quitting smoking is hard for one overarching reason: addiction. Nicotine Addiction

While many of the ingredients in cigarettes are harmful, nicotine is the element that is addictive. According to the World Health Organization, “A cigarette is an efficient, well-engineered nicotine delivery device that has proved to be deadly when smoked regularly. Nicotine from a smoked cigarette will reach the brain in as little as 7 seconds after inhalation.” The addictive effect of nicotine is linked to its capacity to trigger the release of dopamine – a chemical in the brain that is associated with feelings of pleasure.

The tobacco industry has been using nicotine addiction to their advantage since the beginning. And we need your help to stop them.

The industry has been aware of the addictiveness of nicotine since at least the 1960’s, but they lied about it for decades because they argue that smoking is a “free choice”, and therefore they are not responsible for the health consequences of smoking. However, tobacco corporations have long realized that addiction is good for their business.

A British American Tobacco memo from 1979 said, “We also think that consideration should be given to the hypothesis that the high profits additionally associated with the tobacco industry are directly related to the fact that the customer is dependent on the product.”

The tobacco industry STILL tries to downplay the addictiveness of nicotine by comparing it to common activities that people enjoy; the tobacco industry has likened nicotine addiction to cravings for chocolate, love, coffee, tea, soda, the internet and shopping.

Nicotine addiction is not like any of these things.

Nicotine addiction is a contagious disease, spread by tobacco corporations, who manipulate their products to make them more addictive. Tobacco companies have created cigarettes that are highly efficient at delivering nicotine into the body, making it easier to become addicted and harder to quit.

Cigarettes are more addictive now than they have ever been.

Research shows that the nicotine yield, or the amount of nicotine that cigarettes deliver, has increased dramatically over the last 15 years. In fact, it has gone up 15%. These actions are entirely purposeful, designed to ensure that tobacco companies’ customers stay addicted.

This is why ASH is committed to fighting the vector of the tobacco epidemic: the tobacco corporations.

We hit back against big tobacco in trade agreements, the UN global development goals, and with the launch of our criminal liability program. ASH also continues to monitor and publicize big tobacco’s marketing tactics that seek to circumvent public health policies.

We drew attention to their inappropriate partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that was used to strong-arm other countries away from implementing tobacco control measures. And we launched our own media campaigns to portray tobacco products as the deadly consumer products that they are.

Although many people choose to experiment with cigarettes, no one chooses addiction. It is unconscionable that tobacco corporations intentionally manipulate addiction in order to increase their profits.

With your help, we will continue to fight back against tobacco corporations and the death, disease, and destruction that they wreak on our society. We won’t allow future generations to suffer through nicotine addiction. Together, we will build a healthier world for you, your family, and your friends.

Please consider becoming a monthly supporter of our fight against Big Tobacco. Your donation will allow ASH to continue this life-saving battle.

Posted in , | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Petition Delivery

ASH joins allies to demand that the U.S. Department of Justice open an investigation on British American Tobacco (BAT)’s alleged corruption in East Africa.

L – R: Abby McGill (International Labor Rights Forum), G. Akili (Corporate Accountability International), Keira Thompson (Public Citizen), Megan Arendt (ASH)

Chris Bostic meeting the DOJ Public Affairs representative.

Chris Bostic meeting the DOJ Public Affairs representative.

45,091 voices strong

45,091 voices strong

Posted in , , | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)

On April 5, 2016, Action on Smoking and Health and two of our partner Press Kitorganizations, Fundación InterAmericana del Corazón Argentina and the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, will present to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on the Right to Health, Tobacco Industry Interference, and on Tobacco in the Americas.

This is a watershed moment for ASH’s human rights program, and the first time that tobacco will be brought up as a human rights issue before this commission. 

Below we answer some frequently asked questions about tobacco, human rights, and the Commission.

HR video

This video, produced by Youth for Human Rights, explains more about human rights.

What are human rights?

Human rights are rights inherent to all people. Human rights treaties spell out the duties of governments to protect the rights of their citizens. Through their treaty obligations, governments are often required to protect their citizen’s rights to health, life, education, safe and healthy working conditions, and many others.

What is the Inter-American Commission? Is it a court?

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is an autonomous organ of the Organization of American States. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and it meets in regular and special sessions several times a year to examine allegations of human rights violations in the hemisphere, submitted by individual petition, by member states, or by request for a thematic hearing (as in our case). The main goal of the Commission is to protect human rights in the Americas.

The IACHR is not a court. However, along with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, it is one of the institutions that comprise the inter-American system for the promotion and protection of human rights. To draw a loose parallel, if an Inter-American Court case is like a case in front of the Supreme Court of the United States, then the Inter-American Commission hearing would be similar to a Congressional hearing.

The Commission’s human rights duties come from three international documents- the OAS Charter, the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, and the American Convention on Human Rights.

Why is tobacco a human rights issue?

The founding documents of the Commission ensure the right to life, the protection of children, the right to health, the right to education, and the right to healthy work conditions, all of which are violated by tobacco and/or tobacco corporations and allowed by governments, illustrated by the following facts:

Right to life/ health

• Tobacco use kills nearly six million people worldwide each year

• Latin America has 145 million smokers, between 8-10% of the smokers in the world.

• Tobacco will kill ten million Latin Americans between 2013 and 2025

Protection of children

• Youth tobacco usage in the region is on the rise, with 13.16 percent of young people between the ages of 15 and 18 smoking.

Right to Education

• Graphic warning labels are effective in dissuading smokers but only 16 Latin American countries require graphic health warnings covering at least 50 percent of the main display areas of a package.

Right to healthy work conditions

• Seventeen countries in the Americas have adopted 100 percent smoke-free laws but these account for only 46 percent of the region’s population.

The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

• Five of 35 countries in the Americas still need to join the 180 parties to the FCTC

• Argentina, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, United States

What is tobacco industry interference?

Article 5.3 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the global tobacco treaty, states that “parties shall protect [tobacco control] policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry in accordance with national law.”

However, the tobacco industry interferes in tobacco control laws and tobacco control education in many ways all around the world, through lawsuits, interference with legislation, deceptive and targeted advertising, and utilizing front groups. We will discuss some of the examples of these tactics during the hearing.

What are you asking the Commission for?

ASH and our partners asked the Commission for a thematic hearing on tobacco and human rights in Latin America for several reasons. The Commission observes the general situation of human rights in Member States and publishes reports – we would like to see tobacco included in those reports. The Commission can also recommend that member states adopt measures that contribute to the protection of human rights. We would like the Commission to encourage all members to fully implement the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), which embodies global best practices for tobacco control.

Finally, the Commission also fosters public awareness of human rights issues. Many people, including human rights professionals, have not considered tobacco as a human rights issue. We intend to show them why they should, and we hope that after the hearing, the Commission will help spread that awareness throughout the region.

Can I attend?  

Join the conversation on social media using #HRcommission

Yes! The hearing is Tuesday, April 5, 2016 from 10:15 AM to 11:15 AM in the Padilha Vidal Room at the Organization of American States. The address is 1889 F Street NW, Washington, D.C. 2006. If you are unable to make it in person, the hearing will also be streaming live here>.

Want to learn more about tobacco and human rights?

Check out our Human Rights Violations and Human Rights Resources webpages, and check back after the hearing to read our presentation materials and watch the video of the hearing.

Posted in , | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Big Tobacco takes hit; City Council bolsters anti-smoking efforts

Big Tobacco took it on the chin Wednesday when Chicago raised its smoking age to 21, outlawed discounts, slapped a $6 million tax on cigars, roll-your-own tobacco and smokeless tobacco and banned chaw altogether at sports stadiums.

Read more>

Posted in , , | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

California Lawmakers Vote to Raise Smoking, Vaping Age to 21

California lawmakers voted Thursday to raise the legal age for purchasing and using tobacco and e-cigarettes from 18 to 21, putting the nation’s most populous state on the brink of becoming only the second after Hawaii to bar teenagers from lighting up, dipping or vaping.

Before it can become law, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown must sign the legislation, which has already passed the state Assembly.

Read on>

Posted in , , | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

WHO warns governments that Big Tobacco is undermining protocol to combat smuggling

The Secretariat for the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) recently sent the following Note Verbal to all Missions of Parties in Geneva to alert them to prevent interference from the tobacco industry on the tracking and tracing system.

FCTC Secretariat Note Verbale_industry interference_4-Mar-2016

Posted in , , | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Manhattan Co-op Resident Wins $120K In Lawsuit Over Secondhand Smoke Infiltration

A Manhattan Supreme Court judge has awarded a co-op apartment owner more than $120,000 in maintenance and fees after she sued over damage to her place from people smoking in neighboring apartments, which she said also affected her health.

Read more>

Posted in , , | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Raise the Legal Age for Cigarette Sales to 21

The biggest reason to raise the legal age to 21 is to reduce young people’s access to tobacco when they are more likely to become addicted and when their brains are still developing. Studies have found that nicotine, the main addictive ingredient in cigarettes, can impair cognition among young people. About 90 percent of adult smokers first use cigarettes before turning 19, and almost all smokers start before age 26, according to an Institute of Medicine study published last year.

Read full NYT Editorial Board piece>

Posted in , , | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tougher smoking laws passed in Queensland

Queensland has passed some of the toughest smoking laws in the country.

From September 1, lighting up will be outlawed at or near childcare facilities, bus stops and taxi ranks, public pools, children’s sporting venues, skate parks and outdoor malls.

The new laws also ban the sale of tobacco products from pop-up retail outlets, such as at music festivals.

Read more>

Posted in , , | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Major NY Law Firm Brags of Denying Smokers ‘Standard of Care’ For ‘Early Detection of Lung Cancer’

A legal victory is one thing but ​for lawyers for a tobacco company to publicly celebrate denying potential cancer victims the best way of identifying lung disease as early as possible seems reprehensible. . . even for a law firm. ​

Read on>

Posted in , , | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tobacco plain packaging likely to be law in New Zealand by end of year

A law that would force tobacco companies to wrap their cigarettes in plain packaging could be in action by the end of the year.

Prime Minister John Key has confirmed a bill, on pause partway through the parliamentary process, would be resumed and he expected it to become law “sooner as opposed to later”.

Read on>

Posted in , , | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Tobacco Companies Factor into the Presidential Primaries

As the first primary elections begin, you are probably thinking about a lot of factors when considering who to vote for. But have you thought about how tobacco plays into the election? 

Many people consider tobacco a public health issue, so when voting, your candidate’s support for tobacco control legislation may be an important factor. But, very few people consider whether their candidate has accepted campaign financing from Big Tobacco. And they should; financing from Big Tobacco can have a huge impact on public health.

Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the world today, and it is the only product on the market that, when used exactly as intended, kills. About half a million Americans die prematurely each year because of tobacco use, including nonsmokers who die from secondhand tobacco smoke.

There is an irreconcilable conflict of interest between the tobacco industry and public health.

Candidates that accept campaign funding from Big Tobacco may feel obligated to pass laws that protect and support the tobacco industry, instead of laws that protect and support public health. Lawmakers should be on the side of public health, not the tobacco industry. It is their obligation to keep their constituents healthy and safe from the harms of tobacco products.

Here is an infographic of presidential candidates who have accepted the most money from the tobacco industry in the 2016 election cycle. As you can see, this is a problem that crosses party lines: both Democrats and Republicans have accepted money from tobacco corporations.

Thank you to Center for Responsive Politics for the finance data, and please check back for our more detailed campaign contributions map, including Congressional races, in fall 2016.

Posted in , | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

35 Health Groups Urge Congress to Support Trans-Pacific Partnership Provision Protecting Health Measures from Tobacco Industry Attacks

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — As the United States and 11 other countries prepare to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement later today, 35 leading public health and medical groups today urged Congress to support a TPP provision that protects life-saving tobacco control measures from tobacco industry legal attacks under the agreement.

Read on>

Posted in , , | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Twitter, e-cigarette ads spread like secondhand smoke

Several states have enacted laws limiting where e-cigarettes can be used — after citing public health concerns — but as no federal law has been created to curtail e-cigarette advertising, companies are resorting to tactics employed by the heyday of the Marlboro Man. But this time, their message is wafting even farther in the wind of social media, according to the study.

“As public health researchers our job is to figure out whether people are seeing messages that might lead them to make unhealthy decisions,” said Kar-Hai Chu, PhD, a researcher scientist of preventative medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, who authored the study. “If an e-cigarette tweet reaches underage users and makes them curious about trying e-cigarettes, that is something we would want to know. The results of the study could help provide guidelines and advice for many potential regulations.”

Read more>

Posted in , , | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Potentially pivotal suit pits smokers vs. Big Tobacco

A decade after a group of American smokers sued Philip Morris USA to try to force the cigarette maker to pay for lung cancer screenings, the case will finally be heard by a jury.

Smokers from Massachusetts allege in the class-action lawsuit that Philip Morris manufactured a defective cigarette knowing it could have made a safer product with fewer carcinogens.

Read more>

Posted in , , | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The True Cost of Smoking by State

WalletHub’s analysts calculated the potential monetary losses — including the cumulative cost of a cigarette pack per day over several decades, health care expenditures, income losses and other costs — brought on by smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.

WalletHub estimated the financial cost of smoking in the U.S. to be roughly $1.6 million per smoker over a lifetime.

States with the Lowest Smoking Costs States with the Highest Smoking Costs
1 Louisiana 42 District of Columbia
2 Kentucky 43 New Jersey
3 Missouri 44 Washington
4 West Virginia 45 Minnesota
5 North Carolina 46 Rhode Island
6 Georgia 47 Connecticut
7 Tennessee 48 Hawaii
8 South Carolina 49 Alaska
9 Mississippi 50 Massachusetts
10 Alabama 51 New York

Key Findings

  • The out-of-pocket cost per smoker is $115,214 over a lifetime. Smokers in New York will pay two times more than smokers in Missouri.
  • The financial opportunity cost per smoker is $1,089,471 over a lifetime. Smokers in New York will pay two times more than smokers in Missouri.
  • Each smoker will incur an average of $220,855 in income loss over a lifetime. Smokers in Mississippi will lose the least, $161,013, which is 2 times less than in Maryland, the state that will lose the most.
  • Each smoker will incur an average of $164,876 in smoking-related health-care costs over a lifetime. Smokers in Massachusetts will pay two times more than smokers in Kentucky.


Read full report here>

Posted in , , | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Global Anti-tobacco Leadership


Contact: Megan Arendt


New Global Anti-tobacco Leadership

After twelve years of success, ASH passes FCA baton to HealthBridge

WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 20, 2016 – After more than a decade of successful leadership and myriad public health victories, Laurent Huber of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) in the U.S. passed the leadership of the Framework Convention Alliance on Tobacco Control (FCA) to Francis Thompson of HealthBridge Canada. The change was effective January 1, 2016.

The FCA was formed during negotiations of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to be the voice of the global public health community, and it has been lauded for its role in achieving a strong international treaty to combat the tobacco epidemic. Huber was the first director of the FCA, and he shepherded the FCA through negotiations and implementation of the first global public health treaty. Thompson has served as FCA policy director for several years.

“I regard the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control as vitally important for global health and, without a doubt, the role of the FCA in motivating, organizing and coordinating the input of civil society into the treaty-making process was crucial to its success,” stated Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General, World Health Organization, 1998-2003.

The FCTC was conceived at a time when multinational tobacco companies were moving into low income countries in earnest, seeing potential profits from populations who, unlike in the high income counties, had not been educated on the dangers of smoking. The World Health Organization estimates that, without dramatic changes, tobacco will claim one billion lives in the 21st century. The FCTC is meant to be that dramatic change.

Early in the FCTC negotiations, ASH made the decision to commit itself to go beyond domestic US tobacco control and confront Big Tobacco on the world stage. At the time, there was no global civil society movement to combat tobacco. The FCA was formed to combine the voices of dozens (later hundreds) of public health groups to demand strong global action. ASH played a critical role in forming the informal coalition. FCA was later incorporated in Geneva, Switzerland in 2003, with Mr. Huber as its director. Today, FCA includes over 500 organizations from over 100 countries.

The FCA became a broad civil society coalition widely recognized by governments, non-governmental organizations, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the United Nations for its vital role in shaping the FCTC, the first global public health treaty negotiated under the auspices of the WHO.

During the past 15 years, the global tobacco control community experienced several successes.

• The FCTC entered into force on February 27, 2005 in near record time for a UN treaty. The FCTC now has 180 Parties and 168 Signatories.

Guidelines for implementation of 8 Articles of the FCTC were developed and adopted: Article 5.3 (Industry Interference), Article 6 (Tax and Price Measures), Article 8 (Protection from Exposure to Tobacco Smoke), Article 9/10 (Tobacco Regulation and Disclosure), Article 11 (Packaging and Labelling), Article 12 (Communication), Article 13 (Advertising/sponsorship), and Article 14 (Cessation).

• The Protocol to Combat the Illicit Trade of Tobacco Products was negotiated and adopted.

• Many countries have effectively implemented FCTC measures, resulting in millions of humans being protected from tobacco smoke, tobacco advertising, and their associated harms.

• Tobacco was a central aspect of the UN High Level Meeting on the Treatment and Prevention of NCDs, ensuring that addressing the tobacco epidemic was a central element of the Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) Strategy.

• ASH and FCA worked together to influence the development of the new UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that have replaced the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), resulting in the integration of the FCTC and tobacco control in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

“I had the privilege to work closely with the FCA through the development of the FCTC and to witness firsthand the expertise they bring to the process of negotiating and adopting complex policy.  The importance of having non-government and government agencies work together cannot be underestimated, and FCA understands very well how to influence governments to create the best possible policies,” said President Tábare Vázquez, the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, 2005 to 2010 and 2015 to present.

ASH will continue to work with the FCA and its incoming director with the aim of accelerating the implementation of the life-saving measures of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).




Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is the nation’s oldest anti-tobacco organization dedicated to health for all. ASH was formed in 1967 in response to the U.S. Surgeon General Report in order to use legal action to fight tobacco and protect nonsmokers. Today, because tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide, ASH uses global tools to counter the global tobacco epidemic. Learn more about our programs at

Follow us on Twitter @ASHOrg and Facebook

Posted in , , , | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kids Overexposed to Cigarettes in Video Games

Hundreds of video games come out every year. Avid gamers have at least 326 news ones to look forward to in 2016.

If previous years are any indication, many of these games will contain images of cigarettes and tobacco use. Experts worry they could lead young people, who clock hours a day playing video games, to start smoking.

Read on>

Posted in , , , , | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

First Singapore, now Norway calls for tobacco sales ban on those born after 2000

January 2016: The president of the Norwegian Medical Association, Marit Hermansen, has called for a ban on the sale of tobacco products to anyone born after 2000 as a first step to create a smoke-free society by 2035.

According to Hermansen “It shouldn’t be forbidden to smoke, but we want young people to not get started with tobacco.” If the goal was to prevent young people from picking up smoking, they should not be able to buy tobacco products when they come of age, she added. Hermansen said she believed it was possible to get political support for the proposal.

Read on>

Posted in , | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Japan Tobacco aims to become world’s leading merchant of death

Mitsuomi Koizumi, 58, president of Japan Tobacco Inc., discussed how his company has evolved since its privatization in 1985 as well as its future strategy, in an interview with Yomiuri Shimbun.

Read on>

Posted in , , | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

U.K. Approves E-Cigarette Prescriptions To Help People Quit Smoking

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s drug regulators have given the go-ahead for a British American Tobacco electronic-cigarette vaping device to be sold as a quit smoking medicine, the first such product to be given a drug license in the UK.

Read on>

Posted in , , | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Statement from ASH Executive Director Laurent Huber

Making Priorities into our RealityLH headshot - COP6

This year has been one filled with milestones for the public health and tobacco control communities.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), that will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), call on governments to strengthen the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Reducing tobacco deaths is now recognized on paper as a global priority; let’s make it a reality on the ground.

And as a first in trade history, tobacco is singled out as a unique product in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and countries in the Pacific Rim have the option to carve out the Investor State Dispute Mechanism (ISDS) for tobacco products.

These are major accomplishments, and it is clear that governments around the world are taking a stand. They want to take action and prevent the preventable in the 21st century: a billion unnecessary, premature deaths and the loss of trillions of dollars to the global economy caused by tobacco use. 

However, it is not enough to recognize that tobacco is a major problem in UN settings and in international trade negotiations.  To make a world free from the harms caused by tobacco a reality, governments need to take action on the ground and fully commit to implementing the measures that will help prevent the scourge of tobacco.

The tobacco industry continues to be a very profitable industry. The global number of deaths attributable to tobacco use is still rising, and unfortunately, smoking prevalence is increasing among the most vulnerable populations, the poor and the disenfranchised.

But now that the world has recognized on paper that addressing the tobacco-related epidemic is a priority, it is up to all of us to hold our governments accountable to what they have agreed.  We need to encourage governments to make the right choice: prioritizing health over tobacco industry profits.

In 2016 we will need to take action, here in the U.S. and abroad, with our friends all over the world, to make sure that reducing tobacco deaths is a national priority.  The world is facing numerous challenges, some that are very difficult to overcome, but this is one development challenge that the world can achieve.

Tell your local government, as well as your national government, to allocate resources to implement the life saving measures we know can work to reduce tobacco use: increase taxes on tobacco products, ban all forms of advertising and sponsorship of tobacco products, protect everyone from exposure to tobacco smoke, place large pictorial health warnings on tobacco packages and consider standardized packaging. Governments can even consider further actions, such as reducing the content of nicotine to make the product less addictive and seriously restricting the sale and trading of tobacco products.

When it comes to one of the principal causes of death in the world – tobacco use – we know what to do.

We don’t have to invent a cure; we just have to implement it.

Donate Now

Posted in , , | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2015 was a Very Bad Year for the Tobacco Industry

And it’s only going to get worse for them.

I was asked two weeks ago to blog about my end-of-year thoughts. Something told me to procrastinate, and I am glad I did. Within 24 hours before putting fingers to keyboard, good news came from afar. First, after several years of litigation, Australia has emerged victorious in its trade dispute with Philip Morris International over plain – or standardized – packaging. And on the same day, France announced that it too would implement tobacco packaging without industry branding.

As important as these outcomes are, they are merely piling on at the end of a year that has seen stunning defeats for the tobacco industry. It will never again be “business as usual” for an industry that kills half of its long-term customers. There is not the space to list every victory for public health, but to highlight a few: 1

• Nova Scotia, Alberta and New Brunswick[1] became the first jurisdictions in the world to ban all tobacco flavorings, including menthol. Two other provinces and several other countries will follow in 2016.

• Standardized packaging was announced in the United Kingdom, Ireland and France,[2] the first countries to follow Australia. Norway, Hungary, New Zealand, Sweden, Finland and Canada will likely follow next year.

• Nepal implemented the largest graphic health warnings in history, occupying 90% of a cigarette pack.

These are important incremental victories, chipping away at the core business of Big Tobacco. But 2015 also saw two fundamental changes in the way the world addresses tobacco products, changes that will have a profound and growing impact on the tobacco epidemic. And ASH was pleased to be at the center of both.

1. In September, the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, the blueprint for ending poverty by 2030. Unlike the previous set of goals, tobacco is front and center, and the world now formally recognizes that tobacco consumption stunts economic development and ruins families, in the U.S. and around the world.

2. Negotiations for the largest free trade agreement in history, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, concluded with an exception preventing tobacco corporations from suing governments over anti-tobacco measures (as PMI did to Australia under a different agreement). This is unprecedented in trade history.

Development and trade are new arenas for the public health community, and we caught the tobacco industry off-guard. The ramifications will take time to manifest, but they are inevitable. The days of the tobacco industry are numbered.

However, we are far from a final victory. In 2011, ASH made the decision to commit resources to fight tobacco in the worlds of development and trade. We will continue the pressure, and capitalize on these victories. But we are also investigating new “soft spots” in Big Tobacco’s armor. In 2016, we look forward to progress on a range of initiatives:

• Criminal liability – Big tobacco’s actions easily meet the definition of manslaughter, but no prosecutor has yet brought them to justice.

• Human rights – All individuals have the right to life and health. The tobacco industry continuously violates these rights.

• Tobacco-Free Generation – Tasmania is considering raising the age to purchase tobacco by one year, every year, eventually phasing out tobacco from society.

• Divestment – Too many institutional investors, including governments, create a conflict of interest by investing in tobacco companies.

• Pharmacies – It is a travesty that retailers devoted to health sell tobacco products at one end of the store while at the other end selling drugs to treat tobacco-related illnesses.

The tobacco wars are not yet won, but we can see the end. Your grandchildren will find it curious that it took so long.

Donate Now



Also in 2016, look for our campaign finance map. Many of U.S. elected representatives take campaign money from Big Tobacco, which is inevitably a conflict of interest when those same representatives legislate laws about tobacco control. Check back for an updated campaign map in 2016.


[1] As of 1/1/16.

[2] All three will come into force in 2016.

Posted in , , | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Philip Morris loses case against Australia’s tobacco plain packaging law

Cigarette company Philip Morris has suffered another defeat in its long-running bid to overturn Australia’s plain packaging laws.

An arbitration tribunal based in Singapore has issued a unanimous decision agreeing with Australia’s position that it has no jurisdiction to hear Philip Morris’s claim.

The Public Health Association of Australia described the result as the “best Christmas present for public health”.

Read on>

Posted in , , | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment
  • Recent Tweets