The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and the Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation released the following statement after the Legislature voted Friday to put sweeping changes to the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust on the November ballot.
TPP Includes Language Ending Tobacco Industry Exploitation of International Agreements
Text of Trans-Pacific Partnership Would Protect Governments ' Authority to Regulate Tobacco Products
WASHINGTON, D.C. – November 5, 2015 – The text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement released today includes critical language agreed to by negotiators and supported by public health groups that would protect the authority of member countries to enact lifesaving tobacco control measures.
The provision, offered by U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman during the final round of negotiations last month in Atlanta, would prevent tobacco companies from using business-to-country trade disputes, known as Investor-State Dispute Settlements (ISDS), to wage legal challenges against tobacco control measures in effect in member countries.
“This agreement was crafted not only to benefit the participating countries economically, but to promote public health by prohibiting tobacco companies from using it to attack laws that are intended to reduce the devastating toll of tobacco use,” said Chris Hansen, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). “TPP member countries are saying they will no longer allow the tobacco industry to overturn lifesaving tobacco control laws with costly trade-related legal challenges. This should set a precedent for future trade agreements to put an end to tobacco company abuses that threaten global public health and economic growth.”
The tobacco industry has used trade and investment agreements, including bilateral investment treaties, to sue governments, bring cases to arbitration tribunals and bully countries into inaction. For example, the industry challenged Australia’s 2012 plain-packaging requirement for cigarettes by filing an investment treaty dispute and a court case against the Australian government – both of which have been extremely costly for the country to defend. As a result, other countries interested in pursuing similar policies have held off doing so because of the threats of a dispute.
Tobacco use is responsible for approximately 6 million deaths per year globally, and an estimated 1 billion people worldwide will die from tobacco use this century without significant action to reduce tobacco use. Nearly 80 percent of these deaths will occur in low- and middle-income countries, where the death, disease and disability caused by tobacco use is especially damaging to productivity and economic growth. The American Cancer Society and ACS CAN are working with public health advocates and governments across the globe to help reduce the health and economic burden of tobacco.
ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.
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