World No Tobacco Day 31 May 2012

Stop Tobacco Industry Interference

World No Tobacco Day unites people, governments and civil society for action against the harms to health of tobacco use.  World No Tobacco Day informs the public about the dangers of tobacco use, the business practices of tobacco companies, what the World Health Organisation (WHO) is doing to fight the global tobacco epidemic and what people can do to claim their right to health and healthy living and to protect future generations.

The Member States of the World Health Organization created World No Tobacco Day in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes. They passed a resolution in the World Health Assembly calling for 7 April 1988 to be “a world no-smoking day.” In 1988, they passed another resolution calling for World No Tobacco Day to be celebrated every year on 31 May.  The theme of this year’s World No Tobacco Day is Stop Tobacco industry interference.

The campaign focuses on the need to expose and counter the tobacco industry’s brazen and aggressive attempts to undermine global tobacco control efforts.

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Watching and countering the industry

Understanding the tobacco industry’s practices is crucial for the success of tobacco control policies. It’s important also to understand that tobacco products are the only legally available products that can kill up to one half of their regular users if consumed as recommended by the manufacturer. WHO monitors and draws global attention to the activities and practices of the tobacco industry in accordance with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).  There are two significant components of this monitoring process: surveillance and regulation.

Under surveillance, WHO engages in ongoing efforts to monitor, and to counter, activities of the tobacco industry to interfere with public health policy-making. It also publishes reports and maintains a database of activities, efforts and campaigns by the tobacco industry to undermine global tobacco control.

Under regulation, WHO, through its networks, assists in efforts to regulate the contents and emissions and the packaging and labelling of tobacco products.

Tobacco industry interference with tobacco control: report

Publication date: 2009


The tobacco industry has historically employed a multitude of tactics to shape and influence tobacco control policy. The tobacco industry has used its economic power, lobbying and marketing machinery, and manipulation of the media to discredit scientific research and influence governments in order to propagate the sale and distribution of its deadly product.  In addition, the tobacco industry continues to inject large philanthropic contributions into social programmes worldwide to create a positive public image under the guise of corporate social responsibility.  This document describes the spectrum of tobacco industry practices that interfere with tobacco control.  As an outcome of the first meeting of tobacco industry monitoring experts convened by WHO, this report exposes these practices and provides the countries signed up to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and other WHO Member States with the background and contextual information that may assist in implementing the WHO FCTC Article 5.3 guidelines against tobacco industry interference with tobacco control.


Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control have identified the tobacco industry as the primary driving agent of the tobacco epidemic. The preamble of the WHO FCTC emphasizes the need for Parties to be alert to any efforts by the tobacco industry to undermine or subvert tobacco control efforts and the need to be informed of activities of the tobacco industry that have a negative impact on tobacco control efforts. In addition to the preamble, Article 5.3 of the WHO FCTC states that “in setting and implementing their public health policies with respect to tobacco control, Parties shall act to protect these policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry in accordance with national law.” Furthermore, the third session of the Conference of Parties (COP) in November 2008, adopted guidelines which expand upon Article 5.3 emphasizing the fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry’s interests and public health policy. The guidelines recommend that Parties “establish measures to limit interactions with the tobacco industry” and “reject partnerships and non-binding or non-enforceable agreements with the tobacco industry.”

For more downloadable WHO reports on monitoring the tobacco industry visit:

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