Online Program

Challenging Big Tobacco's interference in trade policy: International advocacy approaches for advancing local health

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 5:20 p.m. - 5:35 p.m.

John Stewart, Corporate Accountability International, Boston, MA
The Preamble to the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) reinforces countries' right to prioritize public health over trade, and yet trade is the most visible and potent forum for the tobacco industry's efforts to undermine tobacco control policies around the world. Big Tobacco lawsuits arbitrated by obscure World Trade Organization (WTO) and World Bank tribunals are contesting countries' obligations under the FCTC. Countries friendly to the tobacco industry are filing legal complaints through the WTO over these same policies. The largest free trade agreement ever negotiated, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, could open the door for the tobacco industry to open new markets for its deadly and addictive products, and launch a global litigation campaign to continue to frustrate public health efforts. Recently, the US Chamber of Commerce even stepped in and claimed that the WHO is overstepping its mandate by attempting to counter this industry strategy.

Though trade presents an immense problem for global public health, it is also an incredible opportunity for local action. The United States, as the host of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, has the power to exclude deadly products like tobacco entirely from the agreement. This presentation will demonstrate the tobacco industry's history of and ongoing efforts to use trade and investment to undermine public health. Moreover, the presentation will explore case studies of successful efforts to counter the industry's efforts to undermine health through trade policy and future opportunities for advocacy.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the tobacco industry’s interference in international trade policy. Evaluate opportunities for advancing trade policies that support public health. Discuss case studies of successful advocacy efforts that counter tobacco industry interference in policymaking.

Keyword(s): Advocacy, Tobacco Industry

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As Director of the Challenge Big Tobacco Campaign at Corporate Accountability International, I oversee advocacy efforts to challenge the tobacco industry's influence in international and local policymaking. As a coordinating member of the Network for Accountability of Tobacco Transnationals (NATT), I also oversee a global grassroots network of public health, human rights, environmental, and faith-based NGOs in almost 50 countries dedicated to protecting health policy from the vested interests of the tobacco industry.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.