I must admit that when I only started this blog, I didn’t think I would have the opportunity to provide my readers with exciting good news post after post… but I guess we are experiencing a “wave” of positive action tackling the tobacco industry’s schemes to increase their power over our governments. The recent news come from France, and hopefully the whole EU will follow in step.
According to announcements recently made by Gilles Pargneaux , a French EU parliament member and the president of the anti-tobacco meddling working group, France has ratified the World Health Organization (WHO) protocol against illicit tobacco trade called the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). This decision was made through a unanimous vote in the French senate.
And why am I excited about it? The 8th article of this protocol deals the requirements of a multi-national tracking & tracing system to eliminate illicit tobacco trading, and within this 8th article it CLEARLY states that Codentify CAN’T be this system
(This following slide is a part of the standard presentation of the protocol, that you can read in-depth here: http://www.who.int/fctc/protocol/about/en/ ):
Diverging from some of the other organizations that were influenced by tobacco lobbyists such as Interpol and corrupt government officials, The WHO acknowledges that the Big Tobacco companies are a grave part of the problem, and therefore they CAN’T be the providers of the solution. The beautiful thing about this protocol is that it tackles this conflict of interests on its most BASIC level. Not between the lines, not in the small print… as you can see above, it’s bolded in big red letters.
France would be the 10th country in the world to ratify this protocol, and the 4th country in the EU… But it is the FIRST country to show intentions of enforcing the protocol immediately on a national level, regardless of other countries’ decisions. And I believe it is a huge step forward… for two important reasons:
1. In comparison to older and weaker international standards and protocols, the WHO protocol outdated Codentify. It understands that the industry would put great efforts into selling governments a mediocre and corrupt solution, which provides “most” of the necessary security measures, “free of charge”. And provides governments the tools to simply not play this game by Big Tobacco companies’ rules.
2. Even more important, it would crash another brick of the industry’s wall of lies and intimidations:
The tobacco industry claims that in order to implement the protocol, it needs 40 States to ratify it. But this is simply not true. EVERY country is strong enough to enforce this protocol on a national level, and I’m glad that it seems France would be the first to lead the way in Europe.
The TPP agreement I’ve described in my previous post, and the endorsement of the WHO protocol that I’m discussing now have a lot in common. Despite having implications in different parts of the world, and existing in very different contexts (international trade agreements Vs. promotion of public health) it is the slow end of an “age of tyranny” that allowed the tobacco lobby to undermine the interests of the public (whether its reducing smoking, or just buying cigarettes at a fair price from a secure, law-abiding, tax-paying industry.
The “Legal Terror” made by the Big Tobacco firms are having rough times due to these changes in legislation… and of course I hope that with a bit more courage and public support, when it comes to the industry’s efforts to promote Codentify against all odds – when it rains it pours. And sinks this joke of a system alongside their lawsuits.
In conclusion, the ratification of TPP across the pacific rim and the WHO Protocol in France clearly demonstrate that governments have the power to stand up to big tobacco and win.
You can help tellthe other European countries to support WHO over Codentify by signing the petition below.