16-19 May 2005
Purpose of Exercise
1. Articulate concise arguments in favor of
ratifying the FCTC and the policy
measures it contains to policymakers,
the media and other potential allies.
2. Enable you to anticipate and counteract
common tobacco industry arguments
against the FCTC and its policies.
The FCTC...
The first international public health treaty negotiated
under the auspices of the World Health Organization
Objective: “to protect present and future
generations from the devastating health, social,
environmental and economic consequences of
tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco
Timeline: 1999 - 2003
38 Articles
Full text available at:
FCTC: Key Provisions
Comprehensive Ban on Advertising and
Large Health Warning Labels Required
Deceptive Labels Prohibited
Nonsmokers Must be Protected
Content of Tobacco Products to be
Sale to Minors Prohibited
Other Provisions
Establish or reinforce and finance national
coordinating mechanism or focal point for
tobacco control.
Endeavor to include tobacco cessation
services in national health programs.
Prohibit distribution of free tobacco products.
Promote participation of NGOs in the
development of tobacco control programs.
No reservations to the FCTC are allowed.
More In Depth Look at FCTC
Provisions on:
Secondhand Smoke
Packaging & Labeling
Advertising Bans
FCTC: Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship (Article 13)
…a comprehensive ban on advertising, promotion and
sponsorship would reduce the consumption of tobacco
Requires a comprehensive ban within five years, including
cross-border advertising originating within a Party's territory.
Includes indirect as well as direct forms of advertising.
Allows for constitutional constraints.
The Parties also agree to consider a protocol to elaborate on
cross-border advertising.
Advertising Bans and
Scientific and economic rationale for bans:
Research shows that comprehensive tobacco
advertising and promotion bans can decrease
Partial bans have been found to be ineffective –
industry merely shifts spending to non-banned
Comprehensive advertising bans reduce cigarette
Cigarette consumption per capita
Consumption trends in countries with such bans vs. those with no
(n=102 countries)
No Ban
Source: Saffer, 2000
Common Arguments Against
Ad Bans and Useful
“Tobacco advertising doesn’t
affect tobacco consumption”
Peer-reviewed studies – including from the World Bank - show that tobacco advertising causes increased
• Advertising is also linked to smoking initiation among
specific groups – such as women and children – as a
result of campaigns targeted at them.
• If it does not work, why does the industry spend billions a
year on it (US$11.2 billion in the United States alone in
• Studies from countries that have banned tobacco
advertising have seen decreases in tobacco use.
“We should only prohibit
advertising aimed at kids”
It is impossible to draw a clear line defining what
advertising is targeted at kids. Cigarette
promotion has been successful in reaching
youth in large part because it portrays smoking
as an “adult” behavior: something that every
adolescent aspires to. And studies have shown
that partial restrictions on promotion do not
reduce tobacco use.
“Arts and sporting events would
disappear without tobacco industry
Many jurisdictions have banned tobacco
sponsorships and, despite dire predictions, most
groups have found alternative sponsors. Other
jurisdictions have used revenue from tobacco
taxes to buy out tobacco sponsorships and fund
events. This way, people are exposed to
messages about health rather than unhealthy
products when they watch sports events or
musical concerts.
“We don’t need to regulate tobacco advertising – the
tobacco companies are proposing a voluntary code.”
Tobacco company codes, by their own
admission in internal documents, are designed
solely as public relations strategies to forestall
meaningful regulation of promotion:
An industry code will be written [for
Pakistan] that it can be used as both a
lobbying lever and an argument against not
introducing formal legislation. Philip Morris,
FCTC: Taxation & Duty Free Sales
(Article 6)
Tobacco tax increases are encouraged.
Recognition that raising tobacco prices "is an
effective and important means of reducing
tobacco consumption“
Duty-free sales are discouraged. Parties may
prohibit or restrict duty-free sales of tobacco
Cigarette price and consumption
show opposite trends (1)
Real price of cigarettes and annual per adult cigarette
consumption in South Africa 1970-1989
per adult
Real price
1970 1972 1974 1976 1978 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988
Source: Saloojee 1995
Real Price
Cigarette consumption per adult (in packs)
Common Arguments Against
Tax Hikes & Useful Responses
“Tobacco taxes hurt the poor
and punish smokers”
Tobacco taxes are extremely effective in reducing
tobacco use. For every 10% increase in the real price of
tobacco products, consumption in middle-income
countries will drop by about 8%. The decrease will be
greatest among youth and the poor, exactly those groups
that government policy hopes to benefit the most and
that can least afford to bear the burden of tobaccocaused disease. Money from taxes can be used to pay
for programs that help smokers quit smoking, and for
programs that benefit the poor.
Smoking accounts for much of the
mortality gap between rich and poor
Risk of death of a 35 year old male before age 70,
by education levels in Poland, 1996
Other causes
Source: Bobak et al., 2000
Attributed to SMOKING
but would have died
anyway at ages 35-69
Attributed to SMOKING
“Tobacco taxes are just a money
grab by governments”
It is true that some governments raise
tobacco taxes primarily to increase
government revenue. But this does not
detract from the fact that tobacco taxes
are healthy public policy.
“Government will lose revenue if
they increase tobacco taxes”
There has not been a single instance in which
an increase in tobacco taxes has resulted in
decreased government revenue. On the
contrary, data from dozens of countries shows
that when tobacco taxes increase, revenue from
tobacco taxes increases. Although tobacco
consumption falls in response to higher prices,
because tobacco is addictive the decline is small
in proportion to the tax increase, guaranteeing
stable government revenue at least in the
medium term.
“Higher tobacco taxes will increase
tobacco smuggling”
The level of corruption in a country as measured
by the “transparency index” is a far better
predictor of tobacco smuggling than the level of
tax. In most countries, the benefits of higher
tobacco taxes in terms of health and revenue
have been significant even in countries where
the level of consumption of smuggled tobacco is
high. And governments can use increased tax
revenue to strengthen anti-smuggling efforts.
Secondhand Smoke
FCTC: Secondhand Smoke (Article 8)
Parties recognize that scientific evidence has
unequivocally established that exposure to tobacco
smoke causes death, disease and disability.
Obliges parties to adopt “effective” laws to protect
citizens from tobacco smoke.
Guiding Principle calls on governments to contemplate
measures to protect all persons from exposure to
tobacco smoke.
Clean Indoor Air Laws, Consumption
& Public Health
Scientific Rationale
Definitive reports by the International Agency
for Research on Cancer, the U.K. Scientific
Committee on Tobacco and Health, and the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
among others, have concluded that tobacco
smoke is a human carcinogen.
Prohibiting Smoking in Public Places
Policy Rationales:
Protecting Non-Smokers
Influencing Smoking
Changing Social Norms
Common Arguments Against Clean
Indoor Air Laws & Useful Responses
“There is no proven link between
secondhand smoke and disease”
Every credible medical and scientific
organization in the world – including the
World Health Organization, the US Surgeon
General, the International Agency for
Research on Cancer – agree that
secondhand smoke exposure causes
serious illness and death in nonsmokers.
“Shared smoking and nonsmoking
areas will solve the problem”
This is like having a urinating and nonurinating section in a swimming pool.
Would you jump in? If the air is shared, the
smoke pollution is shared. Smoke in the
smoking section causes disease in the
nonsmoking section.
“Secondhand smoke is just an issue
of poor ventilation”
Better ventilation may reduce the odour of
smoke, but it does not eliminate the harmful
chemicals. To eliminate these chemicals in an
average smoking office, so many air
exchanges would be required that there would
be a small typhoon.
Why force businesses to invest in expensive
ventilation equipment when they can just
eliminate the source of the pollution? The
cheapest, most effective, and only sensible
solution is to eliminate smoking indoors.
“Smoke-free environments will harm
businesses, especially bars,
restaurants, and tourist industries”
Workplaces that are smoke-free lower their maintenance
and insurance costs, and their workers are more
productive. Smokers and nonsmokers exposed to smoke
get sick more often, and smoke-free workplaces help
smokers to quit smoking.
The effect of banning smoking in bars and restaurants has
been studied in hundreds of communities. Sales receipts
show that sales increase or remain the same in smoke-free
bars and restaurants in comparison to those in jurisdictions
that still allow smoking. Studies that show otherwise are
always funded by the tobacco industry allies, and usually
look at owner predictions rather than actual sales data.
“Government doesn’t have the right
to tell my business
what to do”
Businesses do not have the right to
endanger the health and lives of their
employees and customers. Government is
obligated to protect public health and
safety, as it does when it regulates drinking
and driving, implements seatbelt laws, or
sets environmental pollution standards.
“Smoking restrictions
infringe on smokers’ rights”
As the saying goes, “my right to swing my
arm stops where your nose begins.”
Smokers do not have the right to harm
others with their smoke. Smoke-free
environments do not violate the “right” to
smoke, they protect the right of nonsmokers’
to breathe clean air.
Article 11
Every package carries health warnings
describing the harmful effects of tobacco
use. These warnings and messages:
shall be rotating
shall be large, clear, visible and legible
should be 50% or more of the principal display
areas but shall be no less than 30% of the
principal display areas
may be in the form of or include pictures or
Brazilian Health Warnings
Canadian Health Warnings
Ban Misleading Terms Such as
“Light”, “Mild” and “Low-Tar”
Scientific and economic rationale
Prominent health warnings and messages on
tobacco product packages have been found to
lead to an increased awareness of risks and an
increased desire to quit
“Light”, “low-tar” and other misleading descriptors
represent one of the biggest consumer frauds of
all time.
Smokers have a right to know what they are
consuming and the risks.
Companies use cigarette packages as a
form of advertisement – they are seen
every time they are purchased, pulled from
someone’s purse or pocket, left on a bar
or restaurant table, or held by an actor in a
Country-specific warnings help reduce
Common Arguments Against
Packaging & Labeling
and Useful Responses
“Health Warnings are ineffective”
The package messages in many countries are
ineffective because they are so small and give
unclear information.
In countries where health messages on packages
are large and use pictures, many smokers have
tried to quit smoking. These messages can
reinforce other elements of a tobacco control
program, such as smoke-free environments. A
pack a day smoker will see the messages 7,300 to
9,125 times a year.
“People here buy single cigarettes,
they won’t even see packages”
If the health messages are large and clear
enough, people will see them when they are
displayed for sale, when they are taken out
of smokers’ pockets and purses, and when
they are discarded. Package messages are
one of the cheapest and widest-reaching
forms of public education available.
“Many people can’t read so
package messages won’t work”
This is a good reason to have pictures
accompanying text messages. Pictures
can graphically illustrate the health harms
of smoking and secondhand smoke, and
can be understood even without text.
“It will cost the companies too
much to retool their printing
The companies change their packaging all
the time
SMUGGLING – Article 15
Parties must “monitor and collect data on crossborder trade in tobacco products, including illicit
trade, and exchange information among customs,
tax and other authorities”
Requires parties to implement measures to
monitor, document and control the storage and
distribution of tobacco products in transit.
Common Arguments Against the
FCTC and Useful Responses
“The FCTC is taking away the
sovereign right of countries to
decide their own approach to
tobacco use”
The FCTC has been negotiated by WHO Member
States in their capacity as sovereign nations. It is
an agreement that countries can choose to ratify
sign or not. The vast majority of countries support
the FCTC, because they see it as a mechanism
to strengthen their national efforts to reduce
tobacco use.
“The FCTC will violate trade
By signing and ratifying the FCTC,
countries will acknowledge the importance
of measures to protect public health and will
be less likely to challenge other countries
that implement such measures.
1. Advertising
2. Taxation
3. Clean indoor air
4. Packaging and labeling (includes
warning labels, light & low, etc)
5. The FCTC
1. Develop three key arguments in favor of
the policy and be able to present them in
a concise and convincing manner
2. Anticipate main industry arguments
against the policy and develop
3. Develop three main industry arguments
for the next group

KEY ELEMENTS OF THE FCTC - ASH > Action on Smoking …