Moldova Enacts Historic Law to Fight Tobacco Use, Resisting Pressure from U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Posted by: Editor | Jul 14, 2015
In a significant victory for public health, the Republic of Moldova has passed a bold and comprehensive law aimed at reducing tobacco use and its devastating consequences.
The new law was enacted despite years of opposition from the tobacco industry and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
This landmark legislation will help Moldova fulfill its obligations under the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the world’s first public health treaty.
Key provisions will:
- Require 100 percent smoke-free workplace and public places;
- Mandate graphic warning labels covering 65 percent of the front and back of cigarette packs;
- Ban all tobacco advertising, promotions and sponsorships; and
- Ban misleading cigarette descriptions such as "light" and "ultra."
The new law is also noteworthy because it is the world’s first national law to prohibit the sale of menthol cigarettes.
The life-saving statute is critical to reducing tobacco’s terrible toll in Moldova. According to the WHO, rates of tobacco use among males in Moldova are over 50 percent, smoking causes some 5,600 deaths per year, and 90,000 of today's youth population will take up smoking unless current trends are reversed.
Moldova was recently featured in an investigation by The New York Times that exposed how the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has helped the tobacco industry fight life-saving tobacco control measures around the world. The U.S. Chamber and its American Chamber of Commerce affiliate in Moldova actively lobbied against Moldova’s legislation, significantly delaying its enactment.
On July 10, Moldova showed it will not be intimidated by outside groups and put public health first when President Timofti signed the bill into law.
We applaud the government of Moldova for its commitment to reducing tobacco use and improving the health of its citizens. Moldova has set an example for other countries in the region to pass similar comprehensive tobacco control laws.