Partner Resources

Human Rights and Tobacco Control Network

Description- HRTCN emerged from a meeting at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland in August, 2008. At this meeting, over thirty delegates discussed how to educate academics, professionals, scientists, and the public on the importance of approaching tobacco control from a human rights perspective. The organization conducts its activities through the guidance of an uncompensated Board of Directors and volunteers.

O’Neill Institute- Global Health and Human Rights Database

Description- The Global Health and Human Rights Database is a free online database of law from around the world relating to health and human rights. The database offers an interactive, searchable, and fully indexed website of case law, national constitutions and international instruments.

Journal Articles

Tobacco Marketing: A Violation of Human Rights in Latin America, by ASH Staff Attorney Kelsey Romeo-Stuppy

Description- The article discusses the growing problem of tobacco use in Latin American countries. There are 145 million current smokers in Latin America, more than half of whom will die from smoking related causes. Many of the countries in Latin America have signed the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) which implements best practices to effectively reduce tobacco use. Yet, many of these countries are failing to live up to the obligations of this treaty. In failing to protect their citizens from the harms of tobacco, countries are violating international human rights laws. A suit could be filed within the Inter-American system on the basis of human rights violations, as a more concrete step to stop this epidemic. A suit filed in the Inter-American court, a regional human rights court, could be based on the violation of the right to health and could include violations of other rights such as the right to life, women’s rights and child rights. There are other options as well: an argument could be made that tobacco control laws do not provide equal protection for particularly vulnerable groups (for example, children).

Quote- “Advocates have recommended using an individualized petition in the Inter-American system against a state on behalf of a vulnerable group exposed to tobacco industry advertising or secondhand smoke.”

Human rights and the Framework Convention on Tobacco

Description- This article explores the connection between human rights and tobacco control, and in particular, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). We address rights-based arguments used by the tobacco industry to argue against tobacco regulation. We demonstrate the weakness of these arguments, and that tobacco control and human rights are, in fact, not in conflict, but are mutually reinforcing. We also offer counter-arguments in favour of tobacco regulation based on international human rights obligations. Moreover, we argue that international human rights law and human rights bodies can provide tobacco control advocates with avenues for international monitoring and enforceability, which are lacking in the FCTC.

Quote- Given the tobacco industry’s efforts to capture more consumers in developing countries, states need to intervene to protect the human rights of their citizens against the negative effects that these strategies will have on their health, life and standard of living.

Human Rights-Based Approach to Tobacco Control

Description- The Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC) is currently the most potent tool for implementation of tobacco control laws across the globe. The FCTC is derivative from previously constructed international human rights conventions. These previous conventions have enforcement mechanisms, unlike the FCTC. However, the FCTC relies on state parties to report periodically on its implementation rather than on a continuous monitoring system. The Human Rights and Tobacco Control Network proposes that abiding by the principles of human rights delineated by international treaties, citizens across the globe can demand effective action for tobacco control.

Quote- “By tightly adhering to the principles that have been delineated for interpreting human rights, one can construct legal claims to rights related to tobacco control. These would include human rights more broadly than just the right to health.”

Relevant Case Law

O’Neill Institute- Tobacco Specific Judgments

O’Neill Institute- Global Tobacco Control

Short Reports

Country specific memos on tobacco and human rights, produced by the Human Rights Tobacco Control Network






Czech Republic


El Salvador



















Laws, Treaties, and Definitions

2016 Human Rights Treaty Hearings


Legal Events:

The American Society of International Law ( ASIL), the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network ( ACS CAN), and ASH hosted Tobacco and International Law: Evaluating and Enforcing the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control