U.S. Continues Obstructionist Behavior As Negotiations Resume on Proposed Tobacco Treaty

Statement of Judith Wilkenfeld Director of International Programs Campaign For Tobacco-Free Kids

Oct. 17 2002

Washington, D.C. — The United States delegation negotiating the proposed tobacco treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC),today continued to take positions that protect the interests of the tobacco industry rather than public health around the world. The delegation spoke out during the negotiations against a provision of the treaty that would allow a an on the advertising of tobacco in nations whose constitutions allow one. The U.S. delegation said this provision in the treaty is a "red line," and they will not sign or accept any treaty with an ad ban provision, even if there are exemptions for countries with constitutional constraints.

Ireland spoke for 24 countries, including the United Kingdom, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, and France, in support of the inclusion in the treaty of a provision banning all direct and indirect tobacco advertising, reserving to those countries with constitutional limitations the right to enact lesser restrictions. The World Bank also intervened in the negotiations, saying a total ban is an essential component to reduce the harm of tobacco.

By opposing a tobacco ad ban with a reservation for those countries with constitutional constraints, the U.S. has broken ranks with most of the Western world's democracies. The U.S. should follow the strong American principle - the majority rules - and not bow to the wishes of the tobacco industry.

The evidence is strong that the most effective way to eliminate the influence of tobacco marketing on young people is through comprehensive restrictions. While there may be U.S. Constitutional issues involving tobacco advertising bans, the U.S. should not prevent other nations from adopting advertising bans in keeping with their own legal systems. The delegation should stop opposing the inclusion of language in the treaty calling for the elimination of tobacco advertising when this would have no practical effect on the United States.

 

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