We hope you’ve had a healthy and happy 2018. Here at ASH, it’s been a productive year. One thing we are very proud of is how much our small staff of 6 people accomplishes. We wanted to share with you some of our achievements this year and the fantastic team working so hard for your health and the health of your children.
Laurent, ASH’s Executive Director, led a global advocacy campaign to advance a human rights approach to ending the tobacco epidemic.
The result? The adoption of the Cape Town Declaration on Human Rights and a Tobacco-Free World by the global health community at more than 3 international conferences and recognized by various United Nations Human Rights bodies and the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Laurent is pictured with The World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) 2018 President Dr. Flavia Senkubuge who signed the declaration in Cape Town, where the snowball affect began, soon spreading to Europe and Asia thanks to ASH staff.
For colleagues and policymakers worldwide, ASH is laying the groundwork to use a human rights based approach to address the tobacco epidemic. This will help advance measures to decrease the harms caused by tobacco.
Chris (Deputy Director for Policy) and Megan (Communications Manager) started working with Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications to conduct research on the best messaging around our goal to phase cigarettes out of the market. Chris has also started leading a national coalition of experts reviewing the policies and intricacies of how jurisdictions can phase cigarettes out of the market. This is a groundbreaking program that ASH is proud to champion in our field.
Liz (Chief Operating Officer) and Nichelle (Program Manager) work tirelessly to secure grants and ensure our management costs stay low, so your donations can go to our programs. They keep us up and running and are a critical part of our work.
Kelsey (Staff Attorney) worked with lawyers around the world to encourage criminal cases against the tobacco industry. Complaints are pending before prosecutors in two countries! And more are being considered in other jurisdictions. Kelsey speaks regularly on the topic to educate other advocates and lawyers on the opportunities that await us: charging tobacco companies with murder.
As we do every other year, we supported the negotiations of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) at COP8 and now the 1st negotiations of the WHO Meeting of the Parties (MOP) on the Illicit Trade Protocol (ITP) in Geneva, Switzerland this past October.
Our work this year has taken place in the United States and abroad, in our office and in airplanes, on desktops and laptops and tablets and iPhones. ASH staff have been both students, as we learn about communications strategies from Syracuse University, and teachers, as we share our experience using human rights arguments for tobacco control; as we did with our workshops in Madrid and Germany. We’ve written articles and blogs, and read many more, to stay up to date on developments in the field.
While ASH’s achievements are impressive individually, they are even more effective because we’ve done them in concert. If there is one word that sums up ASH’s work this year, it would be “synergy”. All of our major areas of work – criminal liability, phasing out cigarettes, the tobacco treaty, and human rights – are puzzle pieces that fit together to end the tobacco epidemic.
Synergy also applies to our partnerships. More than ever, our work is breaking down barriers and encouraging cooperation with experts in other areas. We are working with communications experts, criminal lawyers, government officials, videographers, and many, many more to ensure that our approach to ending the tobacco epidemic is effective.
Of course, there is another group that is integral to our success- YOU, our donors! Your support allows us to undertake our important and often catalyzing work. Every donation truly helps us get one step closer to zero deaths from tobacco.
Together, we can phase cigarettes off the commercial market. Together, we can hold tobacco executives criminally liable for selling a deadly product. Together, we can protect the health of generations to come.