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Global Tobacco Control Policy Framework

San Francisco Tobacco Free Coalition
June 30th, 1997

Please Note: This action has been discontinued.
Thank you for your support!

The Problem:

Worldwide, cigarette smoking causes three million deaths annually. Two million in the developed world and one million in the developing world.

The World Health Organization, the Harvard School of Public Health, and the World Bank conclude that "by 2020, tobacco is expected to kill more people than any single disease, surpassing even the HIV epidemic".

While many regulations to control tobacco have been enacted on the local, state and national level, the multinational tobacco companies have shifted their focus to the international community to ensure their growth and profits.

As consumption declines in their domestic markets, transnational tobacco corporations (primarily Philip Morris and RJR Nabisco in the United States and British American Tobacco in the United Kingdom) seek new markets overseas through exports, acquisitions and joint ventures such that smoking prevalence rates are growing in the developing world.

Goal Statement:

The San Francisco Tobacco Free Coalition's intent is to reduce the global impact of the multinational tobacco companies by holding them to the same standards both nationally and internationally.

Solidarity Statement:

As 33% of San Franciscans are immigrants, the Coalition believes that it must think globally and act locally in the development of a Global Tobacco Control Policy Framework.


The San Francisco Tobacco Free Coalition will actively work in solidarity with domestic and international grassroots communities, groups, organizations, government agencies, and Ministries of Health to promote social, economic, and environmental justice.


Findings:

The transnational tobacco companies advertise and market their products internationally in ways long banned in the United States, such as selling their cigarettes without health warnings and advertising on television. Furthermore the transnational tobacco companies also interfere with the national public health laws of countries via political and commercial pressure to open markets and to promote their product under the guise of free trade agreements and economic help.

Howard Barnum, Senior Economist for the World Bank, concludes in his study, The Economic Burden of the Global Trade in Tobacco, "tobacco consumption provides a net economic loss, and anti-tobacco policies are a cost-effective way to save lives and benefit the economy".

Tobacco production involves a great deal of pesticides and is responsible for deforestation in the Brazilian Rainforest. Furthermore worldwide tobacco production uses 12% of all timber felled worldwide such that the land to grow tobacco could feed 20 million people worldwide.

The transnational tobacco companies wield power and influence through political contributions. Philip Morris, makers of Marlboro cigarettes, was at the top of the list for lobbying expenditures in the first six months of 1996 and also sponsored the 1996 US presidential debates.

The San Francisco Tobacco Free Coalition has successfully advocated for several tobacco control ordinances in San Francisco, including the banning of vending machines, self-service displays, tobacco and alcohol advertising on City property, smoke-free worksites and restaurants.

The Food and Drug Administration has promulgated regulations that make it illegal to sell tobacco products to persons under the age of 18 and requires merchants to check photo identification for anyone under 27. The regulations will ban vending machines and self-service displays; free samples or giveaways of tobacco products; promotional item sales or giveaways; single cigarettes, and packs with fewer than 20 cigarettes. Pending the outcome of the court case determining whether the FDA can restrict advertising and promotion of tobacco products, the regulations will also ban outdoor advertising within 1000 feet of schools or public playgrounds, reduce tobacco advertising in youth oriented publications and beyond 1000 feet of schools or public playgrounds to black and white text only, and prohibit tobacco sponsorship of events.

The 49th World Health Assembly, the annual meeting of all Member States of the World Health Organization, has called on all Member States "to move progressively towards the adoption of comprehensive tobacco control policies and also to deal with aspects of tobacco control that transcend national boundaries". Furthermore the 49th World Health Assembly called for the development of an international framework convention for tobacco control in the form of an international treaty to which signatory states would agree to pursue broadly stated goals.

The World Health Assembly recognizes that tobacco use is a major public health problem, but most of the solutions are to be found outside the health sector, by addressing issues of agriculture, trade, taxation, advertising, package labeling, personnel management, and many others.


Resolutions:

The San Francisco Tobacco Free Coalition answers the call of the Forty-ninth World Health Assembly, the annual meeting of all Member States of the World Health Organization, "to move progressively towards the adoption of comprehensive tobacco control policies and also to deal with aspects of tobacco control that transcend national boundaries" by adopting this Comprehensive Global Tobacco Control Policy Framework;

The San Francisco Tobacco Free Coalition will actively work with local, State, National, and International policy makers to adopt and promote this Global Tobacco Control Policy Framework;

The San Francisco Tobacco Free Coalition recognizes that a "framework convention does not try to resolve all the substantive issues in a single document" and that the Global Tobacco Control Framework will be expanded and developed as new information and links with other groups are made.


Local Policy Actions:

License tobacco retailers.

Prohibit tobacco sponsorship of any events on City property (i.e.: street fairs, cultural events, sports events).


Restrict opening of new tobacco shops and require public notices for all new businesses so that community is informed of what type of business is moving into the neighborhood.


Policies:

A. Divestment of retirement systems in tobacco stock

Action:

1. The City and County Retirement Board adopt a policy to divest in stock of tobacco companies and their subsidiaries.

B. Guidelines for international tobacco trade matters which ensure that human health is protected and that countries have the right to regulate the transnational tobacco companies.

Actions:

1. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors adopt a resolution calling for the US Congress and the Executive Branch to publicly commit to developing guidelines for international tobacco trade matters, including Section 301 of the US Trade Agreement, which ensure that human health is protected and that no government action by the legislature or federal employees will be taken without prior review and approval.

2. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors adopt a resolution calling for the World Trade Organization to allow member countries to regulate multinational tobacco companies without threat of sanctions for unfair trading practices.

3. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors adopt a resolution urging member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to reject the Multilateral Agreement of Investments, a treaty which models the World Trade Organization, and gives corporations the right to sue governments on the grounds that the country's laws may hurt their investment.

4. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors adopt a resolution calling on the US Congress and Executive Branch to support the development of an international framework convention for tobacco control as called for by the 49th World Health Assembly.

5. Forward these resolutions to State and Federal legislators asking that they agree to raise the issue with their colleagues.

C. Actively support international boycotts of products produced by the transnational tobacco companies or their subsidiaries.

Actions:

1. The Board of Supervisors adopt an administrative policy prohibiting the purchase of any products produced by tobacco companies or their subsidiaries by City departments, agencies, or institutions or contractors of City departments, agencies, or institutions.

2. The Board of Education adopt an administrative policy prohibiting the purchase of any food products produced by tobacco company subsidiaries.

D. Social justice criteria for Sister City relationships which includes adopting all or part of the Global Tobacco Control Policy Framework.

Actions:

1. The City of San Francisco develop and adopt social justice criteria for Sister City relationships.

2. The City of San Francisco work with Sister Cities International to develop social justice criteria for Sister City relationships.


E. Require the transnational tobacco companies to adhere to the same standards both domestically and internationally.

Actions:

1. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors adopt a resolution requiring the transnational tobacco companies to adhere to the same pesticide regulations internationally as they do domestically.

2. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors adopt policies that model the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations and adopt a resolution requiring the tobacco companies to adhere to the FDA regulations both domestically and internationally.

3. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors adopt a resolution requiring that the transnational tobacco companies adhere to the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act internationally.

4. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors adopt a resolution requiring that international issues be addressed in the development and implementation of any tobacco control rules, regulations, settlements, policies, or guidelines.

5. Forward these resolutions to State and Federal legislators asking that they agree to raise the issue with their colleagues.

F. Campaign reform that limits political contributions by individual, agencies, companies, and organizations.

Actions:

1. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors make a public commitment not to accept tobacco contributions.

2. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors adopt campaign reform and adopt a resolution calling for the US Congress to do the same.

3. Forward these resolutions to State and Federal legislators asking that they agree to raise the issue with their colleagues.

The foregoing policy statement was adopted by the Tobacco Free Coalition on the seventh day of May in the year 1997.

The Tobacco Free Coalition includes the following organizations: American Heart Association, American Lung Association of SF/SM Counties, Chinese Progressive Association, Chinese Power Against Tobacco, Columbia Park Boys and Girls Club, Mission Housing Development Corporation, SF League of Urban Gardeners, SF Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Trans Smokefree Project, South of Market Problem Solving Council, and others.


The following organizations endorse the foregoing policy framework (partial list):

American Heart Association, SF Affiliate

African American Tobacco Education Network

American Lung Association of San Francisco and San Mateo Counties

Asian and Pacific Islander Tobacco Education Network

Chinese Power Against Tobacco

Chinese Progressive Association

Columbia Park Boys and Girls Club

Coalition of Lavender Americans on Smoking and Health (CLASH)

Escuela de Promotores de la Salud (Health Promotors School)

Global Exchange

Marin Institute

Marin County Smokefree Coalition

Mission Housing Development Corporation

New College's Global and Community Studies Department

Pharmacy Partnership/CMA Foundation

Vietnamese Community Health Promotion Project

San Francisco African American Tobacco Free Project

SF League of Urban Gardeners

SF Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Trans Smokefree Project

Sister Mary Phillippa Health Center

South of Market Problem Solving Council

South of Market Teen Center

Transnational Resource & Action Center