The marketing and sale of tobacco products violate the right to health and life of all people globally
The Right to Health
The right to health was first internationally articulated in the 1946 World Health Organization (WHO) Constitution. The WHO preamble declares that “the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.” The right to health was also declared a human right in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. It has also been mentioned in many other international treaties, declarations and conferences.
In 2017, the UN Human Rights Council affirmed “the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health” and urged states “to work towards the full implementation of all Sustainable Development Goals,” including strengthening implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the world’s first public health treaty. When writing the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the framers looked to human rights accords for inspiration, examples and substantive legal thinking.
The Right to Cessation
The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control sets out the measures countries should take to reduce tobacco use, including WHO FCTC Article 14 – tobacco cessation support and treatment. Tobacco cessation support is effective, yet according to WHO only one third of the world’s population have access to adequate help to stop smoking. To learn more about helping countries develop effective and affordable tobacco cessation programs, please visit the website of an ASH partner, the International Center for Tobacco Cessation (ICTC).