Zoltán Massay-Kosubek

Worms, 28 December, 2015. – Why is this a relevant question for a public health advocate? Because of the deadly impact of tobacco consumption on human health and the shameless behaviour of the tobacco industry, as regards tobacco control measures.

Concerning the societal harm caused by tobacco use, let’s have no doubts about it: tobacco use is the key risk factor of many Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), including Cardiovascular Diseases (which are the No.1 killers in Europe), Cancer, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Diabetes, some forms of visual impairement and many others. What else would make the Chief Scientist of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office for Europe to name tobacco as a ‘mass destruction weapon’?

There is no safe use of tobacco products and the tobacco industry has proven many times that it is always ready to undermine tobacco control measures. Therefore, there is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry’s interests and public health policy interest.

The mentioned three cases are:

1.) The inclusion of a ‘tobacco carve out‘ into the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), excluding tobacco industry related Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) cases. The TPP will be a binding international treaty covering 12 States including the United States, Japan and Australia.

2.) Philip Morris has lost its ISDS case against Australia concerning the national law introducing tobacco plain packaging.

3.) In an ongoing legal case at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) launched by the Tobacco Industry, the non-binding opinion of the Advocate General has considered the Tobacco Products Directive (2014/40/EU) legal.

That is why it is important to note these three cases as signs for hope for even stronger tobacco control policies in 2016.

Related earlier updates:

Tobacco Products Directive: Will the Council Vote on the Right Side?

Yes, We Can – Stop the Tobacco Epidemic in Europe

Stronger European Tobacco Control is a Must for Solving the E-cigarette Problem

The “Silent Killer” Threatens the European Integration

Horsemeat Scandal and the Weaknesses of the Single Market: Does the European Court of Justice (ECJ) Have the Philosophers’ Stone in its Pocket?

Will Dalligate mean a delayed Tobacco Products Directive? Don’t Let it Happen!

Nuthsell analysis through a timeline of the Dalli-gate based on a video interview with the Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy

What is the relevance of a break-in into the offices of 3 public health NGOs from a European perspective?

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