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ASH’s Accomplishments in 2023

ASH’s work is based on the principle that the actions 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, that have been recognized at the highest level through international, regional, and national legal instruments.

DonateAs such, we focus on 4 key areas of work:

(1) Phasing out the commercial sale of combustible tobacco products (aka Project Sunset, Tobacco Endgame),

(2) Using the law to hold the tobacco industry accountable (ex: joint lawsuit against the FDA for the delayed menthol ban),

(3) Using a human rights approach to advance tobacco control, and

(4) Promoting and strengthening global best practices to reduce tobacco use, through the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

Combined, these programs chip away at the tobacco industry from every angle to accelerate the end of the tobacco epidemic. Below, we celebrate our successes in each program in 2023.

Project Sunset: Phasing out the sale of commercial combustible tobacco products

  • Project Sunset
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    ASH provided technical assistance on endgame planning, policy development, and communications strategies to 34 jurisdictions.

  • ASH developed 8 technical assistance training resources for partners to amplify their support of the tobacco endgame.
  • ASH supported our European partners in promoting their European Union Citizens Petition in support of the endgame policy on building a tobacco-free generation.
  • ASH has been conducting research on the needs of lower and middle-income countries to engage in endgame work.
  • ASH submitted comments to an HHS Request for Information: Draft HHS 2023 Framework to Support and Accelerate Smoking Cessation, connecting cessation and endgame.
  • ASH serves as a statewide media and communications technical assistance provider in California.
  • As a technical assistance provider for the state of California, ASH prepared social media content and supported media advocacy for 6 jurisdictions, while running our own social media campaigns on endgame and the environmental impact of tobacco.
  • Tobacco Endgame Matters podcast published 5 new episodes to educate and unite local communities in the fight for tobacco endgame progress.
  • ASH launched and hosted a very well-received 9 week Tobacco Endgame Policy and Advocacy Training Course for 686 individuals from 69 countries and 42 US states plus D.C. Registration is ongoing and the live discussion sessions will reopen in Spring 2024.
  • ASH coordinated a global response to the New Zealand government’s threat to rescind its tobacco endgame law, passed in December 2022. An open letter with 139 organizational sign-ons connected to a full-page ad in the leading New Zealand newspaper was organized in less than 72 hours.

Using the law to hold the tobacco industry accountable for the harm they cause

  • ASH has supported the Global Alliance for Tobacco Control’s work and preparations for Article 19 advocacy at COP10.
  • ASH and our plaintiff partners continue to monitor the FDA as the menthol rule progresses. We’re extremely concerned about the current delay from the White House and continuing to offer education and advocacy support to streamline implementation of the rule sooner than later.
  • ASH continues to monitor other opportunities for strategic litigation. A lawsuit in the Netherlands is utilizing human rights arguments as a case against “rigged filters.” This is an exciting development that could be instructive for other cases in the future.

Using global norms to move local communities toward a zero tobacco-use prevalence

  • Human Rights Program
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    In exciting news, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination issued its draft for a new General Recommendation on Race and the Right to Health. Due in large part to ASH’s advocacy, tobacco is included in the draft! ASH then organized a campaign to publicize this victory as well as to encourage advocates to stay engaged as the process moves forward, to ensure that tobacco is included in the final draft. 208 organizations from 61 countries joined the sign on campaign, demonstrating human rights as a priority in our field.

  • ASH staff serve as advisors for partner organizations where delegated, such as the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education Advisory Committee, the DC Tobacco-Free Coalition, and the Global Alliance for Tobacco Control’s (GATC) COP advisory board. ASH leads the GATC COP10 task force on Human Rights, participates in Article 19 (liability) work, and coordinates efforts around Article 2.1 (Sunset). Nichelle Gray was chosen to take part in the Quantum Leap Leadership Development Program hosted by the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council.
  • ASH staff was asked to participate in interviews by the Institute for International and Development Studies in Geneva on tobacco industry interference and the WHO FCTC Secretariat regarding their ongoing Stakeholder Perception Study.
  • ASH submitted 8 comments to United Nations bodies, providing recommendations on the intersection of human rights, the environment, and tobacco control best practices. One example was our joint report with Comité National contre le Tabagisme (CNCT) and Alliance Contre le Tabac (ACT) which was joined by 50 additional signatories calling on the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) to make recommendations that France take greater steps to protect the right to health of women and girls from the harms of tobacco.
  • ASH co-convened the Stop Tobacco Pollution Alliance (STPA), a global coalition of 100 public health organizations who recognize the crucial intersection of tobacco control and environmental health, at two global treaty negotiations and during year-round country advocacy to support INC-2 and INC-3.
  • ASH wrote 3 advocacy reports on implementing best practices in tobacco control, for example the 2023 U.S. Tobacco Industry Interference Index.
  • ASH staff presented at 21 local, national, and global events, for example the UN Human Rights Council, an ASTHO webinar, the Truth Initiative Impact Series, the European Conference on Tobacco or Health, and a webinar for the Public Health Law Center, on amplifying human rights and equity while strengthening tobacco endgame policies.
  • Launched updated data for all 50 states and DC on the U.S. Tobacco Industry Lobbyist and Lobbying Firm Registration Tracker, which received considerable positive feedback from our partners who were seeking a resource like this tracker to help them avoid working with clever tobacco lobbyists.
  • ASH remains active with the DC Tobacco-Free Coalition, particularly on encouraging robust enforcement of DC’s Flavored Tobacco Law and educating the community through the DC Calls It Quits Week Summit.
  • ASH will be very active at COP10 in early February 2024 and is co-hosting or speaking at several side events. Review our COP10 priorities and events here.

ASH in the News

Key media articles quoting ASH or mentioning our work

14 Press Releases and Statements

31 Blogs


Additional Items

  • ASH continued our successful Webinar Series, hosting 31 webinars with prominent co-hosts, such as US FDA, WHO FCTC Article 17/18 Knowledge Hub, the Global Alliance for Tobacco Control, DC Health, NYU, UNC Chapel Hill, the Stop Tobacco Pollution Alliance, UpEnd Tobacco. Having trained 5,305 advocates in 2023, ASH continues to receive positive feedback on and strong attendance at our substantiative training webinars.


You play a critical role in our success too. Without your support, much of this wouldn’t have happened. Please make a generous donation today, to be DOUBLED, to bolster our work.