DEMONSTRATION AT THE UN
STOP SABOTAGING THE FCTC! * STOP DOING PHILIP MORRIS' DIRTY WORK! *
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE EVENT, CONTACT:
*** FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE ISSUE, READ BELOW ***
The Global Tobacco Epidemic
The World Health Organization projects that tobacco will kill 10 million people annually by the year 2030 the equivalent of 70 jet planes crashing each and every day. An incredible 70% of these deaths will occur in low-income countries the regions of the world with the fewest resources to counter the deadly epidemic and the large multinational tobacco corporations that profit from spreading it. If urgent action is not taken, tobacco will soon become the leading cause of death worldwide, causing more deaths than HIV, tuberculosis, maternal mortality, automobile accidents, homicide and suicide combined. For more information about Big Tobacco's misdeeds around the world go to: http://www.essentialaction.org/tobacco
The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
In an effort to counter the escalating global toll of tobacco-related death and disease, 191 member states of the World Health Assemby are currently negotiating the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Some of the issues that negotiators are addressing: tobacco advertising and sponsorship, smuggling, and taxation. While the original intent of the treaty was to save tens of millions of lives, it appears (after four rounds of negotiations) that the resulting treaty is more likely to give the global tobacco industry free reign to continue business as usual. For more information about the FCTC see: http://www.fctc.org.
Bush Administration Puts Big Tobacco Above Public Health
Despite the U.S. public health community's unanimous calls for a strong FCTC, the U.S. delegations positions are almost identical to Philip Morris' recommendations. Philip Morris, the largest transnational tobacco company in the world, as a key contributor to the Bush presidential campaign and gave Republicans about $3 million in the last election cycle. The U.S. says that its goal is a "ratifiable" treaty, but the U.S. has a long record of NOT ratifying international treaties (e.g. International Rights of the Child, the Landmine Treaty, the Kyoto Protocol). A treaty that is "ratifiable" by the U.S. is likely to protect corporate tobacco's profits rather than properly address the massive scale of the epidemic. Philip Morris itself has said that it "wants a treaty that will bring it stability," and the U.S. delegation seems to be the company's main avenue for getting what it wants (Remember, what is best for Philip Morris is always WORST for public health. More profits from cigarettes = more cigarette consumption = more death. When Philip Morris wins, people die). There is a growing international consensus that the U.S. could best aid international tobacco control efforts by dropping out of the FCTC negotiations altogether -- better to have a strong treaty that the U.S. does not ratify, than a weak one that it does.
Why is a Strong FCTC Relevant to New York City?
In New York City, where over 40% of residents are foreign-born, the importance of a strong international treaty on tobacco control is especially acute. Internal tobacco industry documents indicate that the tobacco industry has used cross-border marketing strategies to target recent immigrants to NYC. And smoking rates within immigrant communities and within the populations of their countries of origin are often similar. New York and New York City recently passed large tobacco tax increases which are sure to significantly reduce smoking rates. Philip Morris will likely make up for this loss in sales by marketing cigarettes and thwarting legislation more agressively overseas. As is, transnational tobacco corporations frequently use NYC names, images, and icons in their advertising abroad (e.g. "Manhattan," the Statue of Liberty, the NYC skyline) to link smoking with "freedom" and the "American Dream." For examples see: http://www.essentialaction.org/tobacco/photos/usa.html.
Why Protest at the UN?
On July 30 August 1, the U.S. Department of Treasurys Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms is convening an International Conference on Illicit Tobacco Trade (ICITT) at the United Nations Headquarters. On the last day of the conference, we want to send a strong message to the U.S. delegation and international attendees, that U.S. tobacco control advocates will not tolerate their government putting Philip Morris profits above the lives of millions of people around the world. If the U.S. cannot "shape up" it should "ship out." For more information on the ICITT see http://www.atf.treas.gov/tobacco/icitt/
What Would a Strong FCTC Look Like?
The Framework Convention Alliance, an alliance of 160 non-governmental organizations from around the world, has identified 10 key issues that the FCTC should include, such as the principal that the FCTC should supercede international trade treaties: http://www.fctc.org/inb4_10_key_issues.shtml.