ASH’s work is based on the principle that the behavior of the tobacco industry – producing, marketing, and selling addictive products that kill when use as intended – violates human rights, such as the right to health and right to a healthy environment, that have been recognized at the international, regional, and national levels.
As such, we focus on 5 key areas of work:
(1) Phasing out the commercial sale of tobacco products (aka Project Sunset),
(2) Using the law to hold the tobacco industry accountable,
(3) Using a human rights approach to advance tobacco control,
(4) Promoting and strengthening global best practices to reduce tobacco use, and
(5) Ensuring that UN international mechanisms address tobacco.
Combined, these programs will confront the tobacco industry from every angle to accelerate the end of the tobacco epidemic. Below, we celebrate our successes in each program in 2022.
Project Sunset: Phasing out the sale of commercial combustible tobacco products
ASH provided technical assistance on endgame advocacy in 14 jurisdictions covering cities, states, and global regions to push for the end of the sale of cigarettes through unique approaches that suit each jurisdiction, such as a sales phase out, banning cigarette filters, Tobacco-Free Generation, and more.
- ASH was invited to serve on endgame task forces in New York, Minnesota, India and the European Union.
- ASH testified at local hearings for endgame and flavors bills in California, DC, and Colorado.
- ASH presented on tobacco endgame policies, implications, progress, and next steps at 8 conferences varying from state-wide events in Maryland, to the National Conference on Tobacco or Health (NCTOH) and global events like the European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention and more.
- ASH lectured on tobacco endgame at the University of Illinois-Chicago public health graduate program, the University of Maryland School of Law and the Georgetown Law Center.
- ASH organized 6 high-level coordination meetings for advocates and government officials to align their work on tobacco endgame policies at the local, national, and regional levels.
- ASH launched a podcast series with 7 new episodes: Tobacco Endgame Matters.
Using the rule of law to hold the tobacco industry accountable for the harm they cause
- ASH and its partner plaintiffs ended their lawsuit against the FDA over menthol cigarettes after the judge ordered FDA to comply.
- ASH submitted comments on the proposed FDA rule on banning menthol cigarettes. ASH provided a statement during the FDA listening session on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars.
- ASH continued its lawsuit against Juul for misleading packaging.
Using global norms to move local communities toward a zero tobacco-use prevalence
ASH submitted 11 comments to United Nations bodies, providing recommendations on COVID-19 pandemic recovery, human rights being incorporated into the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, how tobacco impacts the human rights of marginalized populations and more.
- ASH submitted a comment and participated in the first round of discussions on CERD General Comment Number 37, which will focus on the right to health. The discussions will continue into 2023.
- ASH organized a sign on campaign with 120 organizations to submit a joint report to the Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) to align with the United States’ reporting cycle to CERD. Our goal is for CERD to recommend the U.S. protect African Americans from the tobacco industry by banning menthol.
- ASH worked with several partners to send a joint letter to the Spanish Ministry of Health asked that they maintain their smoke-free terraces policy and another campaign to reverse their decision to add more tobacco retailers along the Spanish-French border.
- ASH Staff were appointed to the Howard University Cancer Center ACS Health Equity Research Advisory Council to review cancer health disparities unique to the Washington, DC area and to develop policy recommendations for local stakeholders to work towards health equity.
- ASH was invited to join a Swiss Government taskforce on Transparency and Truth and a Steering Committee convened by the Truth Initiative around scientific integrity.
- ASH participated in a consultation on human rights and tobacco focused on children’s rights and the environment.
- ASH helped organize 4 regional events on incorporating human rights treaty body reporting into tobacco control work.
- ASH staff gave lectures on using global norms and human rights to strengthen tobacco control at the University of Maryland Law School, Georgetown University’s O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, the Institute of Public Health in Bengaluru, India and more.
- ASH continued to update and improve our Tobacco and Human Rights Hub here>
- ASH Staff presented on global norms to UNEP, WHO, WHA, European Scientific Network on Law and Tobacco’s Conference, UICC World Cancer Congress, DC Calls It Quits Week Summit, and more.
- ASH hosted a training for advocates on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD). Click here to view the recording.
- ASH attended the 1st round of negotiations for the UN Treaty to End Plastic Pollution. Read our closing synopsis here>
- ASH supported the local coalition efforts to ensure DC’s Flavors Bill was fully funded. The law is being enforced as of October 1, 2022. ASH continues efforts to strengthen enforcement.
- Research is in the final stages for the 2022 Tobacco Industry Interference Index and updates to our Tobacco Lobbyist and Lobbying Firm Registration Tracker.
ASH in the News
Key media articles quoting ASH or mentioning our work
- ASH was quoted in the New York Times article on RJR suing California over their implemented flavor ban. His quote was re-used by US News, KOAM, and more.
- ASH was quoted in the Wall Street Journal on the New Zealand endgame bill package.
- ASH sat down with NPR’s All Things Considered to discuss the New Zealand endgame bill package.
- ASH was quoted in Science Magazine on the New Zealand endgame bill package.
- Project Sunset and ASH were mentioned in the digital and print version of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health Magazine .
- ASH was quoted in Time Magazine’s coverage of the Tobacco-Free Generation law in Brookline, Massachusetts here.
- ASH was quoted in the Route Fifty article on Brookline, MA’s endgame policy and mentioned in their associated news promotions on Instagram and TikTok.
- ASH coordinated expert interviews with key partners for another TIME article on the proposed menthol ban.
- ASH was quoted in Magnolia Banner News on the FDA’s proposal to ban menthol.
- AATCLC mentioned ASH in their PBS interview on the FDA’s proposal to ban menthol cigarettes.
- In support of the CERD campaign, ASH self-published an op-ed from Kelsey on Medium here>.
- ASH posted a letter welcoming the new FDA Commissioner. Read it here.
- ASH Statement on FDA’s Proposed Rule Banning Menthol as a Characterizing Flavor.
- Joint Statement from the Plaintiffs on FDA’s Response in Favor of Banning Menthol.
- Press release on dismissing lawsuit against the FDA.
- ASH’s comment and resources for others to use when submitting a comment to the FDA on menthol rule.
- ASH Press Release on FDA proposal to reduce nicotine in cigarettes.
- Press Release for CERD Report with 120 signatory organizations here>. One of our supporting campaign videos on TikTok (with a quote from a former RJ Reynolds executive) went viral with 20,000 views.
- The Spanish Government Must Protect Health Over the Tobacco Industry: 127 Health and Civil Rights Associations Demand that No New Tobacconist Licenses be Granted nor Renewed
- Press Release and video announcing Dr. Carolyn Dresler winning the C. Everett Koop Unsung Hero Award.
- Joint Press Release on the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child including tobacco recommendations in their report on Germany.
- ASH issued a press release to announce Professor Marks joining the Board.
- ASH issued a press release to welcome CA passing its flavor ban.
- ASH issued a press release on New Zealand’s endgame bill package.
- ASH awarded the Project Sunset Award for Courage in Public Health to Christopher K. Leung, the lead attorney in the landmark case forcing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin the rulemaking process to ban menthol cigarettes. Read the news here.
- ASH’s article How human rights can help end the tobacco epidemic in LMICs and around the world published in Medicus Mundi Switzerland.
- ASH supported the publication of a brochure by our partners at Unfairtobacco on women’s rights and tobacco control. The brochure is available in German here.
- ASH’s article “Exposing Current Tobacco Industry Lobbying, Contributions, Meals, and Gifts with Manuscript” was recently published by the journal Tobacco Induced Diseases. You can view the article here.
- ASH published a Reporter Guide to covering Tobacco Endgame Policies.
- ASH was the first author on “Progress, challenges and the need to set concrete goals in the global tobacco Endgame” published in the 100th anniversary edition of the Pan-American Journal of Public Health.
- ASH co-authored a manuscript entitled “Could international human rights obligations motivate countries to implement tobacco cessation support?” published in the journal Addiction. Read it here.
- ASH wrote an article for the journal Tobacco Induced Diseases about the proposed FDA rule.
- ASH launched a report for World No Tobacco Day: Tobacco and the Environment: Case Studies on Policies that Protect our Environment and our Health from Tobacco.
- ASH published a new content webpage on how flavors entice youth here>.
- ASH staff wrote a chapter for a forthcoming book entitled, “Our Bodies, Their Business,” about corporate influence and women’s rights.
- ASH published a new webpage on our UN Plastic Treaty work.
- ASH co-authored an article, “Global Plastics Treaty must align with Global Tobacco Control Treaty” in BMJ Tobacco Control.
- ASH’s 2021 Annual Report was published.
- ASH’s well-received Webinar Series continued with increased exposure for our organization and our cutting-edge approaches to tobacco control.
- ASH released a video featuring Dr. Alfred Munzer and experts in the field who discuss his impact throughout his career, on the occasion of him transitioning from ASH Board Chair to a Trustee. It was very well received and promoted by partners across social media.
- ASH released a new video for International Women’s Day, featuring global advocates united to protect women from the tobacco industry.
- ASH published a blog for World Day of Social Justice.
- ASH published a blog on New Zealand’s endgame policies here>.
- ASH published a blog on our impact at the European Conference on Tobacco Control in Greece here>.
- ASH published a guest Blog from an intern on the environmental disaster of tobacco here>.
- ASH published a guest Blog from Dr. Carolyn Dresler on the importance of cessation following proposed FDA rules here>.
- ASH published a blog on our participation at the National Conference.
- ASH published a blog on our participation at the Human Rights Council.
- ASH published a blog on our participation in the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).
- ASH published a blog on our participation at the University of Bath’s tobacco industry monitoring course.
- ASH published a blog on the Malaysia endgame bill.
- ASH published a blog on International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
- ASH published a daily blog during the UN Plastic Pollution Treaty negotiations, read the daily blog starting here and read the final synopsis here.