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“The FCTC is no ordinary convention.It is potentially a public health movement.”

- Former WHO Director-General, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland (1999)

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which entered into force on February 27, 2005, has set the policy framework internationally for tobacco control. To view the FCTC and its Guidelines on FCTC Articles 5.3, 6, 8, 9 and 10 (partial), 11, 12, 13 and 14 click here.

To date, there are 180 Parties to the FCTC. Across the globe, Parties to the FCTC are developing effective and successful tobacco control legal measures. Among other provisions, the FCTC requires legislative measures to:

  • provide effective protection against exposure to the harms caused by tobacco smoke in indoor public places, workplaces, and public transport, at a minimum (FCTC Art. 8)
  • comprehensively ban all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, where constitutionally permissible (FCTC Art. 13)
  • warn consumers of the hazardous effects of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke and ensure they are not mislead by deceptive tobacco product packaging and labeling (FCTC Art. 11)
  • protect public health tobacco control policies from the commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry (FCTC Art. 5.3)

Effective, comprehensive legislation in each of the above areas is critical for preventing tobacco-caused disease and death and protecting societies from the devastating consequences of tobacco use.

Legislative Drafting Resources

The following resources can be used to draft effective, comprehensive legal measures that comply with the requirements of the FCTC and its Guidelines and that protect against tobacco industry tactics:

  • Tobacco Labelling Resource Centre provides rich, comprehensive, and practical information on effective, evidence-based labeling policies, with links to laws.
  • World Health Organization Tobacco Free Initiative Legislation Page provides links to key resources related to tobacco control legislation and the legislative process.
  • Draft Template for Omnibus Tobacco Control Legislation was developed by the International Legal Consortium at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The Template was created as a suggested pattern for law-makers to consider adopting, in order to bring domestic legislation into compliance with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and its Guidelines. States enacting legislation based upon the Template have the flexibility to depart from the text and domestic legislation should be considered in order to identify the exact nature of any possible deviation from the Template. Additionally, an attorney's expertise is necessary to tailor the Template to the legislative drafting rules and styles of a particular jurisdiction. Please note: An updated version of the Template will be available soon.

Litigation Resources

The following resources can be used to support tobacco control litigation:

  • The O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law provides many resources on litigation and tobacco control, including:

    Cabrera, Oscar A. and Alejandro Madrazo. 2010. Human Rights as a Tool for Tobacco Control in Latin America. Salud Publica de Mexico 52 (288-297).

    Gostin, Lawrence O. 2007. The Tobacco Wars: Global Litigation Strategies. Journal of the American Medical Association 298 (21): 2537-2539.

Other Resources

The ILC hosts webinars on select cutting edge topics. The webinar series is designed to keep tobacco control lawyers, advocates, and government officials informed of pressing issues, providing them with need-to-know information from topic experts and an opportunity to share strategies and lessons learned by those who have confronted the issues.

Tracing, Tracking, and the Draft Illicit Trade Protocol (English)

Tracing, Tracking, and the Draft Illicit Trade Protocol (English)

Original Date: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 at 9:00am-10:00am Eastern Standard Time (14:00-15:00 GMT)

Presenter: John W. Colledge. In his more than 30 years in law enforcement, Mr. Colledge investigated cigarette smuggling, narcotics, money laundering, and arms trafficking. At the U.S. Customs Service, Mr. Colledge developed the International Tobacco Smuggling Program, which he oversaw between 1999 and 2002.

Summary: Participants will learn the following about tracking and tracing:

  • why these systems are key to reducing tobacco prevalence;
  • the pros and cons of various technologies and techniques;
  • how to avoid tobacco industry control and influence over these systems;
  • which systems will best prevent illicit trade of tobacco in your country;
  • how the current draft of the Illicit Trade Protocol lines up with public health goals; and
  • ways you can influence the Illicit Trade Protocol negotiations at the INB5.

Busting the Myths About Illicit Trade and Tobacco Control (English)

Busting the Myths About Illicit Trade and Tobacco Control (English)

Date: Tuesday, November 29 at 9:30am-11:00am Eastern Standard Time (14:30-16:00 GMT)

Presenter: John W. Colledge. In his more than 30 years in law enforcement, Mr. Colledge investigated cigarette smuggling, narcotics, money laundering, and arms trafficking. At the U.S. Customs Service, Mr. Colledge developed the International Tobacco Smuggling Program, which he oversaw between 1999 and 2002.

Summary: Participants will learn: 

  • how to counter tobacco industry arguments that tobacco control measures, like tax increases and plain packaging, increase organized crime and illicit trade
  • how to distinguish between different types of illicit trade, such as smuggling, counterfeiting, illegal manufacturing, and more
  • how the industry uses arguments about illicit trade to gain access to government agencies
  • how the industry-sponsored resources misrepresent the facts about illicit trade

The Real Deal on International Trade and Investment Agreements and Tobacco Packaging and Labeling Regulation (English)

The Real Deal on International Trade and Investment Agreements and Tobacco Packaging and Labeling Regulation (English)

Original date: June 23, 2011.

Presenters: Benn McGrady, PhD., LLM, O’Neill Institute for National And Global Health Law, Eduardo Bianco, MD, Centro de Investigación de la Epidemia del Tobaquismo (CIET), Uruguay, and Miguel Garces, MD, Una Voz Contra el Cáncer, Guatemala.

Summary: Participants will learn:

  • Why, despite the tobacco industry’s assertions to the contrary, regulation requiring large graphic health warnings, prohibitions on misleading trademarks, plain packaging, and similar measures are consistent with governments’ WTO and international investment obligations;
  • Why no WTO challenge has been filed against such measures;
  • What the texts of these agreements actually say (as compared to what the tobacco industry claims they say) and why public health should prevail in the event of a challenge;
  • The weaknesses in the tobacco industry’s threatened legal challenge to plain packaging in Australia and its pending legal challenge to Uruguay’s new packaging and labeling requirements under Uruguay’s investment agreement with Switzerland; and
  • The experience and perspective from a Uruguay and Guatemalan NGO involved in countering arguments invoking the WTO and regional trade agreements to weaken strong packaging and labeling legislation.
The materials and analysis available at this website are for informational and educational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.