SABC News - WHO chief accuses big tobacco of dirty tricks:Monday 10 October 2011

WHO chief accuses 'big tobacco' of dirty tricks

Monday 10 October 2011 10:17

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WHO urges governments to unite against "big tobbacco" bullying

WHO urges governments to unite against "big tobbacco" bullying(SABC)

The World Health Organization's chief has urged governments to  unite against "big tobacco", as she accused the industry of dirty tricks, bullying and immorality in its quest to keep people smoking. WHO director-general Margaret Chan accused cashed-up tobacco firms of using lawsuits to try and subvert national laws and international conventions aimed at curbing cigarette sales. At a WHO meeting in the Philippines Chan said: "It is horrific to think that an industry known for its dirty tricks  and dirty laundry could be allowed to trump what is clearly in the public's best interests."

Chan cited legal actions by the tobacco industry against anti-smoking measures in Australia and Uruguay, saying these were "scare tactics" intended to frighten other countries from following suit. She said: " It is hard for any country to bear the financial burden of this kind of litigation, but most especially so for small countries. Big tobacco can afford to hire the best lawyers and PR firms that money can buy. Big money can speak louder than any moral, ethical or public health argument and can trample even the most damning scientific  evidence."

3,000 people die each day from tobacco use in the Western Pacific region.

Chan called on the countries at the forum of Western Pacific nations  to fight back.WHO documents released at the forum said that 3,000 people die each day from tobacco use in the Western Pacific region.This covers an area with a population of 1.6 billion people, including China, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and many South Pacific island nations.

Chan pointed to successful efforts in the Philippines to increase taxes on tobacco products, saying that the WHO was "gearing up" to support other countries that took such measures.Chan did not specify how the WHO would help countries in their efforts to combat the tobacco industry. But the WHO has for many years called for bans on cigarette advertising and promotion, as well as restrictions on smoking in public  places and higher taxes.

 

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