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Tobacco Trade Simplified

The impact of trade on tobacco can seem complicated, but there are only 6 main things you need to know.

Number 1: Tobacco is unique among consumer products. When used exactly as intended, tobacco products kill.

Therefore, tobacco should be exempted or “carved out” from trade agreements.

Number 2: Free trade agreements are meant to increase consumption. Increasing consumption of tobacco products would lead to additional deaths.

Tobacco products and services must be explicitly excluded. This would remove the tobacco industry’s ability to benefit from free trade agreements. A tobacco exception would not hurt any other products.

Number 3: The tobacco industry manipulates trade law as a way to threaten and sue governments who try to regulate tobacco within their own country.

Oftentimes, a tobacco company knows it is unlikely to win a trade suit against tobacco regulations; the cases are meant to scare governments by imposing large litigation costs.

Number 4: There is an irreconcilable conflict between public health and the tobacco industry.

Unlike other products that can become harmful when abused or overused, there is no “safe” use of tobacco. There is no happy medium to be found between the tobacco industry’s goal of increasing tobacco consumption, and the public health goal of reducing disease and death.

Number 5: In the Trans-Pacific Partnership (or TPP) negotiations, the US is pushing to increase the right of corporations, including tobacco companies, to directly sue governments over domestic regulations. State and local tobacco laws are also at risk.

TPP is a free trade treaty currently being negotiated between the US and eleven countries bordering the Pacific Ocean. Once completed, it will be the largest regional trading bloc in the world, larger than NAFTA.

Number 6: Including tobacco as a normal product in trade treaties leads to greater disease and death.

One billion people will die from tobacco this century unless drastic actions are taken. One of those critical preventative actions needs to be carving tobacco products out of trade agreements.

Voice your agreement by sharing this video on Facebook or Twitter using #CarveOut.

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