It’s been ten years since the FDA was given the mandate from Congress to fully regulate the tobacco industry and tasked with the critical responsibility of protecting the health of our nation. And still, the FDA has not fulfilled its mission to reduce the deadly toll of tobacco use.
World No Tobacco Day: Reducing the Global Tobacco Burden
Today is World No Tobacco Day, an annual event sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) to highlight the significant toll tobacco products continue to have on people's health across the world and to advocate globally for policies that we know will help prevent kids from ever starting to smoke and help current adult smokers quit. To mark World No Tobacco Day, ACS CAN is releasing a new report, Protecting Children and Reducing the Global Tobacco Burden: Trading Tobacco Company Protection for Public Health. The report starkly illustrates the worldwide tobacco epidemic and makes the case for an action Congress can take right now to save lives and protect kids from tobacco around the world. Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States and around the world. More than two thirds of tobacco deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. If current trends continue, tobacco will continue to kill 480,000 Americans each year and kill an estimated one billion people globally this century. What many people don't know is that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade and investment agreement, currently awaiting congressional approval, contains a provision that prevents tobacco companies from using the agreement to legally challenge the United States and the 11 other countries that have or are considering tobacco control measures, including comprehensive smoke-free laws, tobacco taxes, cessation services, and marketing restrictions, to successfully reduce tobacco-related disease and death. The TPP's inclusion of an historic provision that prevents tobacco companies from using the agreement to challenge tobacco control measures will put the United States and the other participating countries in a better position to save lives by protecting children and adults from the dangers of tobacco. The 11 other Pacific Rim countries that negotiated the TPP agreement that safeguards measures to reduce tobacco use, include:
- New Zealand
In recent years, tobacco companies have used trade and investment agreements to sue governments, including Australia and Uruguay, when they have tried, for example, to change packaging or increase health warnings to reduce the marketing to youth. These lawsuits or even the threat of future lawsuits are intended to prevent countries from adopting or implementing tobacco control policies that save lives. If approved, the TPP will help to put an end to these tobacco industry's tactics and allow these countries to work to protect citizens from the deadly impact of tobacco use. So, what's at stake if the United States Congress and the 11 other countries included in the TPP do not approve the agreement:
- Tobacco use will continue to be responsible for 870,000 deaths annually in the TPP countries.
- Tobacco use will kill one billion by the end of this century.
- Tobacco use will continue to cost the world $1 trillion annually in increased health care spending and lost worker productivity.
We know what works to prevent kids from starting to use tobacco and to help current adult users quit. Approval of the TPP by Congress and the 11 other governments is essential for the tobacco provision to take effect to help protect tobacco control measures and in turn, public health. We urge Congress to take action now. By voting in favor of the TPP agreement, Congress has the unprecedented opportunity to help save millions of lives rather than promoting the interests of the tobacco industry. To view a full copy of ACS CAN's report, please visit: www.fightcancer.org/TPP.