I smoke, and tobacco hasn't killed me. Antis can say all of that BS about "When you reach your golden years, tobacco will kill you then." As crazy as it is out here, I'm lucky to live for 30 years and counting. A lot of folks out here get murdered before they even reach 20 years of age. Neva mind the fact I've seen elderly folks smoking cigs numerous times.
Anybody can smoke tobacco for decades and still live a long life if they got a healthy diet.
I think ALCOHOL is the #1 legal consumer product that kills more. There are probably more people who get killed by drunk drivers per year than the numba of folks who die from smoking-related causes (if there are any of those latta deaths at all).
Four years ago, U.S. President George W. Bush signed the tobacco treaty, but he has yet to submit it to the Senate for ratification. In 2005, now-President- elect Barack Obama, along with 10 other U.S. senators, called on President Bush to send the treaty to the Senate for consideration. At that time Obama wrote, "The FCTC [Framework Convention on Tobacco Control] is a crucially important step for public health both globally and here at home. The treaty provides the tools needed to combat the damage inflicted by tobacco....The U.S. must seize this opportunity to show leadership in combating the global tobacco epidemic."
•"[T]obacco is the only legally available consumer product which kills people when it is used entirely as intended," according to the Oxford Medical Companion. It is the greatest preventable cause of death and disease in the world, claiming over 5 million lives every year, adds Corporate Accountability International, a corporate abuse watchdog group.
•The main forces driving the global consumption of tobacco are Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, and Japan Tobacco. The combined revenue of these transnational corporations exceeds the combined GDP of El Salvador, Georgia, Ghana, Honduras, Jordan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Senegal, Sri Lanka, and Uganda. Each company is also known for marketing their products to children and using "their political influence to weaken, delay and defeat tobacco control legislation around the world," states Corporate Accountability.
COUNTRIES MEET TO LIMIT BIG TOBACCO'S INFLUENCE
INDUSTRY INTERFERENCE SEEN AS #1 OBSTACLE TO HEALTH TREATY'S ENFORCEMENT
From: Corporate Accountability International
November 17, 2008
DURBAN-Representati ves of 160 ratifying countries are meeting this week to negotiate guidelines for a provision in the global tobacco treaty that may determine whether millions get the health protections they are now guaranteed under the treaty.
The negotiations center on the implementation of Article 5.3, which protects the treaty and related public health policies from tobacco industry interference.
At stake this week is how narrowly or broadly these protections are defined. If defined broadly, ratifying countries will recognize the tobacco industry's fundamental conflict with public health, and reject collaboration with tobacco giants like Philip Morris International (PMI) and British American Tobacco (BAT). If defined narrowly, Big Tobacco could continue to gain influence with governments, and demand a seat at the table when public health policies are being developed.
"Industry interference is the number one obstacle to the implementation and enforcement of the global tobacco treaty," said Kathy Mulvey, international policy director of Corporate Accountability International. "Article 5.3 is the lynchpin of the treaty, determining whether or not countries will be able to reverse this preventable epidemic without Big Tobacco standing in their way."
The global tobacco treaty, formally called the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), took effect in 2005 and now protects more than 85 percent of the world's population. But efforts to implement the treaty are being systematically stymied by tobacco transnationals, reinforcing the importance of this week's third Conference of the Parties (COP) in Durban.
In Zambia, for example, BAT is developing a cozy relationship with the Minister of Local Government and Housing, who is responsible for enforcing a new ban on smoking in public places. The tobacco industry is trying a similar strategy in Kenya, courting the Minster of Local Government in an attempt to roll back protections against exposure to tobacco smoke.
In Colombia, another country that has recently ratified the global tobacco treaty, PMI and BAT are lobbying hard to preempt a new Health Ministry resolution on smokefree environments. PMI bought Colombia's largest tobacco corporation in 2005 shortly after a report found that seven was the average age people were beginning to smoke in the country's second largest city.
In the lead-up the resolution's taking effect, BAT launched a so-called "youth smoking prevention" campaign as activists were organizing a series of events to expose and challenge tobacco industry interference in public health policymaking.
And these are but a snapshot of tobacco industry interference globally.
"If we don't lay out clear terms now about the tobacco industry's fundamental conflict of interest when it comes to health policy making, it may cost us everything we have achieved through this treaty in turn," said Akinbode Oluwafemi of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth-Nigeria, a member of the Network for Accountability of Tobacco Transnationals (NATT). "We are dealing with an industry bent on protecting its profit interest at all human expense - an industry that has written the book on policy manipulation and interference. "
Corporate Accountability International, a non-governmental organization with observer status at the COP, and its allies in NATT believe that the following provisions of the draft Article 5.3 guidelines would help prevent abuses such as those highlighted in Zambia, Kenya and Colombia:
• Prohibiting government partnership or collaboration with the tobacco industry.
• Protecting against conflicts of interest for those involved in setting and implementing tobacco control policies.
Corporate Accountability and NATT are calling for the draft Article 5.3 guidelines to be strengthened, in order to:
• Avoid government interaction with the tobacco industry, and set strict rules of engagement for any meetings determined to be necessary.
• Ensure transparency around government interaction with the tobacco industry and around tobacco industry activities and operations.
• Emphasize the tobacco industry's fundamental conflict with public health.
Since negotiations on the global tobacco treaty began in 1999, Big Tobacco has used its political and economic influence in an attempt to undermine, delay and water down public health measures. Japan Tobacco, for example, is 50 percent owned by the Japanese government. The Japanese Ministry of Finance is heavily represented at treaty meetings, and Japan has often played an obstructionist role.
"We are optimistic that Parties will keep the interests of our children's health closer to their heart than those of tobacco transnationals, " said Network for Accountability of Tobacco Transnationals (NATT) Spokesperson Muyunda Ililonga, also of the Zambia Consumers Association. "But we know from experience that some will act from the pocket when the circumstance demands they act from the heart."
For background on tobacco industry interference in the global tobacco treaty download the 3rd edition of the Global Tobacco Treaty Action Guide, available in English, French and Spanish, visit: www.StopCorporateAb use.org.
The Network for Accountability of Tobacco Transnationals (NATT) includes more than 100 NGOs from over 50 countries working for a strong, enforceable Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
Corporate Accountability International, formerly Infact, is a membership organization that protects people by waging and winning campaigns challenging irresponsible and dangerous corporate actions around the world. For 30 years, we've forced corporations- like Nestlé, General Electric and Philip Morris/Altria- to stop abusive actions. Corporate Accountability International, an NGO in Official Relations with the World Health Organization (WHO), played a key role in development of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).