The year 2022 has seen incredible milestones when it comes to taking measures to protect our collective right to health and right to a healthy environment from the harms caused by the tobacco industry.
When we talk about “human rights,” we talk about the rights that have been recognized at the highest level of international law and codified into law through international treaties and agreements that our countries have negotiated and adopted.
The right to health has been recognized as a fundamental right indispensable to achieving other human rights in all major UN Human Rights treaties. This year, the United Nations General Assembly formally recognized the right to a healthy environment, a right that is unfortunately highly impacted by the tobacco industry.
The tobacco industry is not only responsible for large carbon emissions and deforestation, but also cigarette butts, which do not protect health, and are the most commonly littered item in the world. More than four and a half trillion cigarette butts are discarded into our environment every year.
Thankfully, communities in the U.S. and around the world have taken bold steps to protect your right to health and right to a healthy environment, and ASH is proud to be involved in these life and environmental saving initiatives.
In the State of California, two cities have phased out the sale of tobacco products, and the town of Brookline, Massachusetts successfully defended its right to protect health by forbidding the sale of tobacco products to anyone born on or after January 1, 2000.
On the other side of the globe, New Zealand passed groundbreaking legislation that will ban sales of tobacco products to anyone born in 2009 or after. It will also drastically reduce the number of tobacco retail outlets and lower levels of nicotine in cigarettes so they are no longer addictive.
These are only a few of the many successes in 2022, and ASH is proud to have engaged with partners around the world to advance initiatives that will protect our right to health, such as phasing out the commercial sale of tobacco products. For more information on global endgame policies, click here.
We look forward to continuing and advancing our vision to reach a “world free from the harm caused by tobacco” and 2023 provides a unique opportunity thanks to the newly recognized right to a healthy environment, one of the most salient issues of today.
The development of a UN Treaty to End Plastic Pollution began in 2022 and will continue over the next two years. Given that cigarette filters, which are made of plastic, are one of the most littered items on coastlines as cigarette butts and the impact of disposable plastic associated with new nicotine delivery devices, this upcoming treaty provides a unique opportunity to highlight the negative environmental impact of tobacco and promote the concept of banning cigarette filters because they do not protect health and they only damage the environment. ASH is proud to have successfully engaged in this plastic treaty negotiation process.
ASH’s achievements in 2022 are thanks to your support and the support from our partners around the world. We invite you to join us in 2023 and help accelerate progress towards a world free from the harm caused by tobacco, where our right to health is protected from the tobacco industry.