The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement recently finalized by the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries includes language preventing the tobacco industry from using the agreement to sue those countries that implement tobacco prevention policies.
This is the first time tobacco has been carved out in a trade agreement as many countries now see the heavy health and economic costs associated with tobacco use. Several of the Pacific Rim countries, including the United States, are actively fighting the extremely litigious tobacco industry in legal battles as the countries try to implement policies aimed at reducing death and disease from tobacco use. These lawsuits have cost countries millions of dollars in legal fees and in some cases have prevented them from trying to enact lifesaving public health measures.
Tobacco is the only product that when used as directed will kill you. Tobacco use killed 100 million people worldwide in the last century, including 20 million people in the U.S. One billion people are expected to die worldwide this century, including 480,000 every year in the U.S., if trends in tobacco use donÈt change. The death and disease from tobacco use is a huge global economic burden, costing one trillion dollars globally and more than $300 billion in the U.S. every year.
ACS CAN has been actively working for several years to lay the groundwork for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and all future trade deals to include language preventing the tobacco industry from using lawsuits as a weapon against effective tobacco prevention policies. ACS CAN strongly supports the tobacco provision in the TPP and calls on Congress to approve the trade agreement to achieve a major victory in U.S. and global health.