Dear President Obama,
I am writing to urge you to exempt tobacco from the TransPacific Partnership Agreement. This would recognize the unique harm posed by tobacco products and would create a safe harbor for health authorities in TPP member countries to adopt tobacco control regulations designed to safeguard the public’s health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year cigarette smoking kills 443,000 Americans, most of whom started using tobacco as teenagers. Worldwide, the World Lung Foundation reports tobacco has killed 50 million people in the last 10 years. If this trend continues, by the end of this century, one billion people will die from tobacco use – the equivalent of one person every six seconds. The magnitude of the tobacco epidemic makes it entirely appropriate to distinguish tobacco from other products within the TPP Agreement, from a health and regulatory perspective.
Your administration has already taken the historic step of passing the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. This Act has already been successfully challenged in an international trade court. Please don’t allow the TPPA to become a strong tool for the tobacco industry to continue to block tobacco regulations.