- October 13 - As hundreds of consumers rights advocates gather at the Consumers International World Congress, the effort to implement the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) takes an important step forward. Infact, the Network for Accountability of Tobacco Transnationals (NATT), and members of the Framework Convention Alliance are building awareness of and support for the FCTC among the powerful global consumers movement. The FCTC, the worlds first public health treaty, will save millions of lives and change the way the tobacco industry operates globally. Seventy-three governments have signed the treaty, which enters into force and becomes international law after 40 countries sign and ratify it.
Consumer organizations play a lead role in the most important health and justice issues of our time. With giant tobacco corporations like Philip Morris/Altria, British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International driving an epidemic that claims nearly five million lives a year, this issue can be no exception. The involvement of consumers organizations will contribute significantly to the swift and effective implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, says Patti Lynn, Campaign Director of Infact, a US-based corporate accountability organization and NATT member.
Infact and NATT are releasing and distributing hundreds of copies of the FCTC Ratification Campaign Handbook this week. With background on the FCTC, tips and tools for developing campaign strategies, insight into the precedents the FCTC sets for other dangerous and deadly industries, and information on the treaty ratification process in dozens of countries, the handbook will be an important resource for public interest organizations across the globe to push for the FCTCs implementation. Infact and NATT allies, including Consumers Association of Malawi, ConsumerVOICE (India) and Zambian Consumers Association, will join with representatives of the World Health Organization and the Framework Convention Alliance in leading a session for Congress delegates on the FCTC and the consumer movement.
The adoption of the FCTC earlier this year was a major victory for people over profits of giant tobacco corporations. Now the hard work of moving countries to implement the treaty has begun. The consumer movement, especially organizations in the Global South where the leadership on this issue is based, must continue to play a vital role in the FCTC process, says Bejon Misra of ConsumerVOICE, also a NATT member.
With the guidance of several consumer organizations on its Steering Committee throughout the FCTC negotiations, NATT members encouraged, prodded and pressured countries to stand firm in the face of Big Tobaccos enormous political and economic clout. With International Weeks of Resistance to Tobacco Transnationals, Marlboro Man Awards, and the release of a number of reports, NATT has played a key role in exposing and challenging the attempts of Philip Morris/Altria, British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International and their political allies in wealthy countries to derail the FCTC. In the push toward ratification, NATT will continue to watchdog the tobacco industrys interference in the process.
The FCTC, initiated by WHO, bans tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (such as Philip Morris/Altrias Marlboro Man) with exceptions only for constitutional reasons, and protects public health policy from tobacco industry interference. The treaty sets precedents for international regulation of other industries that threaten health, the environment and human rights.