World Health Organization Struggling Against Big Tobacco
The World Health Organization (WHO) is prompting governments to unite forces against tobacco industry and is accusing the Big Tobacco of attracting ore and more smokers to its products.
“Big Tobacco is using lawsuits in order to try and overthrow national laws and international conventions intended for eradicating tobacco sales,” said WHO director general Margaret Chan.
“It is awful to think that an industry known for its actions could be allowed to outdo what is in the public’s interests,” Chan stated at the WHO recent meeting held in the Philippine capital.
“It is difficult to any country to carry the financial load of such kind of litigation, buy most of all for a smack one,” she said.
“Tobacco industry has enough money to hire best lawyers, because big money can do more than any moral or public health arguments and crush even the most powerful scientific evidence.”
Chan called the countries at the forum of Western Pacific nations to fight back the present situation.
“I prompt all these countries unite forces and hold our grounds because we should never permit the tobacco industry to have the best of it,” she said.
Chan reminded the successful attempt undertaken in the Philippines in order to raise taxes on smoking products, declaring that the WHO was “preparing” to support other countries that decided to take the given measures.
However Chan didn’t specify how the WHO would help countries to struggle the tobacco industry.
WHO has for many years called for ban and restrictions on cigarette advertising and sponsorship, as well as bans on smoking in public places and higher taxes.
For instance in Australia, Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s government plan to introduce a one-of–a-kind legislation that would compel all cigarette producers to sold their products in plain packaging January 1, 2011.
Despite of the fact, Philip Morris has started legal action, stating that Australia’s plans infringe international trade obligations and said it expects billions of dollars in compensation if plain packaging takes effect.
Australian Department of Health Secretary Jane Halton declared that her government was resolute to implement the plan, despite the undermining activities of tobacco companies.
“We are ready to withstand the attack of big tobacco but we understand that it will be a rather difficult and complicated struggle,” Halton told the WHO delegates.
According to WHO data, about 3,000 people die each day from tobacco consumption in the Western Pacific region.
This covers such countries as: Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, South Pacific island and Vietnam.
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