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Developing Countries

New direct funding available for low- and middle-income countries to regulate tobacco – UN

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=55500

New funding is now available to support tobacco control implementation for low and middle income countries through the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) , currently the strongest global instrument to control tobacco.

If current patterns continue, tobacco will kill about one billion people during the 21st century. By 2030, 80 per cent of those who die due to tobacco use will be those who live in low- and middle-income countries.

The new project will be delivered by the WHO FCTC through a collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other partners. 179 countries and the European Union are Parties to the Convention. The partnership will provide support to low- and middle-income countries as they move to implement new control strategies and policies. The Convention is expected to greatly reduce tobacco use if implemented properly.

In developing countries, the deleterious effects of tobacco are primarily treated as a health matter, which, though important, overlooks serious secondary impacts on social, economic, and environmental progress. Tobacco control is a development issue and successful regulation relies on the contributions from sectors such as commerce, trade, finance, justice, and education. This is why the international community has agreed to incorporate the implementation of the WHO FCTC throughout the entire 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), not only Goal 3, which addresses health and wellbeing.

“The implementation of the WHO FCTC is critical in advancing sustainable development,” said the Head of the FCTC Secretariat, Dr. Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva. “Through the new project, we will take implementation of the WHO FCTC to a new level by providing support and guidance to developing country Parties.”

Through the new initiative, low- and middle-income countries will be able to create and strengthen coordination mechanisms and action across sectors to implement the WHO FCTC. Examples include treaty obligations to ban tobacco advertising and promotion, guarantees that tobacco packaging comes with health warnings, putting an end to smoking in enclosed public spaces and in the workplace, tax increases for tobacco products, and safeguards to keep public health policies free from tobacco industry interference.

Prior work by the UN and Parties to the Convention has revealed support in a number of areas related to social and economic development. Efficient tobacco control measures can have positive impacts on investment and country-specific plans for increasing non-health sector engagement in order to protect health policies that are integral to the implementation of the SDGs.

Douglas Webb, Team Leader on Health and Innovative Financing at the UNDP also welcomed the project: “There is a growing recognition that current tobacco trends and sustainable development cannot coexist. As a committed partner, UNDP welcomes this opportunity to advance tobacco control through better support to national planning, good governance, and protection against tobacco industry interference in policy making.”

Over the next five years, the project will call upon governments from low- and middle-income countries to join in implementing the WHO FCTC. The United Kingdom is helping to make the project possible through generous financial contributions.

WHO convention launches project to strengthen tobacco control

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/who-convention-launches-project-to-strengthen-tobacco-control-116110801400_1.html

Developing countries are all set to get a boost in their tobacco control efforts with the the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control today launching a project to strengthen implementation of the global tobacco control treaty.

Through the project, countries will be offered support to create and strengthen coordination mechanisms and action across sectors to implement the WHO FCTC, including treaty obligations to ban tobacco advertising and promotion, ensure tobacco packaging has health warnings, end smoking in enclosed public and workplaces, and increase tobacco taxes among others.

The five-year project will open call for expressions of interest inviting LMIC governments wishing to join implementation from 2017 and will be delivered with the generous development funding from the United Kingdom.

“Developing countries will receive dedicated support to implement the WHO FCTC, the best instrument to ensure tobacco control worldwide that has 179 countries plus the European Union as its Parties.

“Through the new project, to be delivered by the WHO FCTC Secretariat in collaboration with UNDP and other partners, a number of low and middle-income countries (LMICs) will be eligible to receive direct support to implement tobacco control strategies and policies,” an official FCTC statement said.

This emerged on the second day of the Seventh Session of the Conference of Parties (COP7) to World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) which India is hosting for the first time.

The statement said that if current tobacco use patterns persist, tobacco will kill about 1 billion people in the 21st Century and by 2030, over 80 per cent of the world’s tobacco-related mortality will be in LMICs.

“The treaty is an evidence-based blueprint for tobacco control policies. Tobacco use will be reduced if a country has a high level of WHO FCTC implementation,” the statement said.

The significant harms of tobacco use on developing countries are usually understood primarily as health issue and this overlooks the extensive impact of tobacco on social, economic and environmental progress.

Tobacco control is a development issue and its success

relies on the work of other sectors such as commerce, trade, finance, justice and education. That is why the international community agreed to include the implementation of the WHO FCTC in the UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it said.

In promoting the new project, the Head of the FCTC Secretariat Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva said that the implementation of the WHO FCTC is critical in advancing sustainable development.

“Through the new project, we will take implementation of the WHO FCTC to a new level by providing support and guidance to developing country parties,” Silva said.

Douglas Webb, Team Leader on Health and Innovative Financing at the UN Development Programme said that there is growing recognition that current tobacco trends and sustainable development cannot coexist.

“As a committed partner, UNDP welcomes this opportunity to advance tobacco control through better support to national planning, good governance and protection against tobacco industry interference in policy making,” he said.

The statement said that the full implementation of the WHO FCTC in low-and middle-income countries is “impeded” without the integration of tobacco control into broader development agendas such as food and water security, environment, the right to education and human rights.

Joint UN work at country level has also revealed a demand from Parties to the Convention for support in a number of areas related to social and economic development.

“Although well represented with two targets under Sustainable Development Goal 3 on health and wellbeing (reduction by one-third of premature mortality from NCDs and full implementation of the WHO FCTC)…,

“The overall success of Agenda 2030 depends on successful tobacco control – and thus integrating tobacco control into the other SDGs and their targets,” the statement said

Developing countries to be supported on FCTC policies

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/developing-countries-to-be-supported-on-fctc-policies-116110801261_1.html

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) on Tuesday said developing countries will receive dedicated support to implement its policies.

The WHO FCTC called it (the policies) best instrument to ensure tobacco control worldwide that has 179 countries plus the European Union as its parties.

In the new project, to be delivered by the WHO FCTC Secretariat in collaboration with UNDP and other partners, a number of low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) will be eligible to receive direct support to implement tobacco control strategies and policies.

“The project will bring together support from across the UN to accelerate the implementation of the Convention,” said a statement issued by the FCTC on the second day of the Convention.

According to WHO, if current tobacco use patterns persist, it would kill about 1 billion people in the 21st century.

By 2030, over 80 per cent of the world’s tobacco-related mortality will be in Low and Middle Income Countries(LMIC).

“The treaty is an evidence-based “blueprint” for tobacco control policies. Tobacco use will be reduced if a country has a high level of WHO FCTC implementation,” said the statement.

Under the project, the countries will be offered support to create and strengthen coordination mechanisms and action across sectors to implement the WHO FCTC, including treaty obligations to ban tobacco advertising and promotion, ensure tobacco packaging has health warnings, end smoking in enclosed public and workplaces, increase tobacco taxes and protect public health policies from tobacco industry interference.

“The five-year project will open call for expressions of interest inviting LMIC governments wishing to join implementation from 2017,” said the statement.

The project will be delivered with the generous development funding from Britain.

FCTC on Monday had said Britain is ready to fund $90 million to the FCTC to curb smokeless tobacco consumption.

Promoting the project, Head of the FCTC Secretariat Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva said: “The implementation of the WHO FCTC is critical in advancing sustainable development. Through the new project, we will take implementation of the WHO FCTC to a new level by providing support and guidance to developing country parties.”

The significant harms of tobacco use on developing countries are usually understood primarily as health issue. This overlooks the extensive impact of tobacco on social, economic and environmental progress.

Tobacco control is a development issue and its success relies on the work of other sectors such as commerce, trade, finance, justice and education. This is why the international community agreed to include the implementation of the WHO FCTC in the UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“There is a growing recognition that current tobacco trends and sustainable development cannot coexist. As a committed partner, UNDP welcomes this opportunity to advance tobacco control through better support to national planning, good governance and protection against tobacco industry interference in policy making,” Douglas Webb, Team Leader on Health and Innovative Financing at the UN Development Programme.

Tonight with Tim Modise | A Billion Lives

Tobacco addiction has led to the deaths of millions around the world with South Africa is joining the cause to have smoking banned.

According to a new documentary, e-cigarettes and vaporizers are a solution to kicking addiction but they aren’t made accessible & this info is kept secret by large corporations because they st and to lose billions.

Tim Modise talks to Aaron Biebert, ‘A Billion Lives’ Film Director & Medical Expert, Dr Delon Human.

Sex, Lies, and Cigarettes

In this Emmy-nominated documentary, Christof Putzel investigates Big Tobacco’s successful and deadly expansion into the developing world. From the smoking baby to the Marlboro Man, little is off limits in the “Wild West” of the world’s fastest growing smokers market.

-Overseas Press Club Award
-Prism Award

Sex, Lies, and Cigarettes from Christof Putzel on Vimeo.

Tobacco looks to gain in developing world despite cancer

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/fbf2efca-0d34-11e6-b41f-0beb7e589515.html#axzz4AVRybUPH

Less than a decade ago in the UK, it was possible to smoke in pubs and restaurants as much as you liked. Go back just a few more years, to 2002, and it was still possible to see adverts for cigarettes on billboards in the street.

Now the UK, along with Ireland and France, is following Australia’s lead in introducing plain packaging, a step that demonstrates just how far restrictions on smoking have come in a relatively short space of time.

Leave western Europe and the picture is more mixed. While smoking is in general becoming less popular and regulation is getting tougher, it remains a killer that takes the lives of 6m people each year, according to the World Health Organisation. Although wealthier countries have been successful in controlling the sale of cigarettes, lower-income nations face an uphill struggle.

“Globally [regulation] only ever moves in one direction, which is to become tighter,” says James Bushnell, an analyst who covers the tobacco industry for Exane BNP Paribas. But for some poorer countries, Mr Bushnell adds, the money required “to come up with a regulatory framework and enforce it is not there”.

There are over a billion smokers in the world, according to the WHO, with four big international tobacco companies that between them made $20bn profit after taxes in 2015.

The industry has long since accepted that its products are indeed harmful, but it remains an opponent of stricter regulation, sometimes using international courts to pursue claims against national governments.

Philip Morris International, for example, sued Australia over plain packaging by claiming the measures violated a bilateral trade agreement with Hong Kong. The company, which is the world’s largest international cigarette seller, has also sued Uruguay in an international court, challenging the introduction of health warnings covering 80 per cent of a packet of cigarettes.

Last year, Michael Bloomberg, owner of the Bloomberg financial media organisation, and Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, pledged $4m to a fund designed to help lower-income countries defend themselves against legal action from tobacco companies.

At the time, Mr Bloomberg said tobacco companies used legal action to “intimidate” poorer countries that may lack the funds or expertise to mount a defence.

Despite the efforts of the tobacco industry, regulation has largely advanced in many countries around the world. To a considerable extent, this is driven by an international treaty — a WHO initiative ratified by 180 countries — called the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, or FCTC, which came into force in 2005.

That was a landmark moment, says Dr Ehsan Latif, director of tobacco control at the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, a health advocacy group.

In the years since, countries such as Brazil and Russia have made significant changes to smoking legislation. Two years ago, Russia prohibited smoking in restaurants, thus extending a public smoking ban enacted in 2013 along with new restrictions on advertising. The Russian government accompanied these measures with a series of tax increases.

Dr Latif, however, points to emerging market countries such as Indonesia as examples of the work that is yet to be done.

Studies put Indonesia’s smoking rate at about 60 per cent for men. Advertising is allowed on television, in newspapers and on billboards, according to the WHO.

Over the next two years, the country will be a crucial source of growth for tobacco companies. BNP Paribas estimates profits from cigarettes will grow faster in Indonesia over that period than in any other country in the world.

The Indonesian government in Jakarta has passed some tobacco control laws, says Dr Latif, but it has not signed up to the stricter international standards required by the FCTC. “Despite all efforts, Indonesia is not moving on that front,” he says. “They just don’t come to the party.”

The problem lies not just in persuading politicians to enact reforms, however, but also in ensuring proper implementation after that.

“If you take Asia, specifically Southeast Asia, there are countries that have adopted the policies but they have not been able to implement them because they don’t have public health infrastructure,” says Dr Latif. “Also the political will waxes and wanes.”

Another chief source of worry is Africa, which has comparatively low rates of smoking. While South Africa is known for having strong regulations on smoking, much of the rest of the continent has lighter rules.

Antismoking campaigners are keen to see restrictions introduced in advance of African incomes increasing and cigarette smoking becoming more popular. “It’s similar to any consumer product,” notes Dr Latif. “Once your purchasing [power] improves you can buy cigarettes.”

The challenge is as much cultural as it is regulatory and may extend beyond the reach of richer nations. “The developed countries pass the laws,” he adds, “and they think enough has been done.”

Why I love cigarettes, even though I don’t smoke

Investing in companies that supply our bad habits has proven to be a winning theme

Have you ever thought about taking a punt on sin stocks? Perish the thought eh!

Not only are there ethical problems but also, surely, stocks like these are likely to be underperforming the market?

But what if they are doing the reverse? Take a look, for example, at tobacco shares. It is no exaggeration to say that investing in tobacco companies has been one of the most lucrative investments of recent times.

The FTSE All World Tobacco index rose 988 per cent from 2000 to last month. This compares with a rise of 131 per cent in the FTSE All World index for the same period.

This may be explained by the fact that contrary to some impressions, tobacco sales remain near their peak, mainly due to increased demand in developing countries.

If tobacco is not your thing what about another looking at Macau casino shares which peaked and crashed last year but are coming back strongly this year.

Brewery stocks are also out there on the sin list and represent quite a mystery, not least because in most developed countries beer sales have slumped while shares in breweries seem to be buoyant. So called craft beers have bucked the sales decline trend and help to explain the strength of these counters but the reality is that craft sales remain a niche within the portfolios of the big brewers.

Away from the heady world of gambling and booze but firmly among things that are bad for you would be fast food stocks. There are many listed companies in this sector and the share price picture is more mixed; however at the beginning of this year a survey of US brokers recommendations on US fast food stocks found that out of 46 companies in this sector 21 were rated as buys, while just two had a sell sticker.

Deeply unfashionable McDonalds is gaining shareholder interest again and while companies of this kind are talking a lot about their healthy options what really interests investors is their discounted offerings on many products that come under the category of well known, and um, well loved diet busters. It’s these good old greasy combos at low prices, not the so-called healthy options, which are adding impressively to the bottom line.

Stop reading right here if you have a moral objection to any of these sin stocks. Indeed a large number of institutional investors, not forgetting many individuals, have decided to avoid these counters like the plague. They have sound ethical reasons for reaching this decision, which often means that they are willingly forgoing potential profit.

That leaves the rest of us who are, to be blunt, less scrupulous. This gives rise to a reduced investor universe for some really big sin counters, which in turn means that opportunities abound.

What’s more all these sin stocks share some common big positives. For example: strong cash flow, then there’s very high profit margins (except for fast food which relies on volume), not forgetting rather remarkable brand loyalty that produces a solid customer base.

On the flip side of this coin is the knowledge that these stocks tend to be highly volatile; the gambling sector is particularly vulnerable. Then there are regulatory issues that have a strong impact on sales because there is nothing that politicians like doing more than tut-tutting over signs of sin.

So, in some ways, investing in sin is a risky old business but, as they say in the investment world, without risk there is little profit. Yet the risks here tend to be predictable.

Who does not know that tobacco consumption is injurious to health? Who can’t get their head around the idea that the world of gambling can be both risky and dangerous?

And so on. The fact is that precisely because these risks are very well known they are priced-in.

Heaven forbid that any of the above can be taken as a exhortation to dash out and buy sin stocks because not only is this column an advice-free zone, but more fundamentally, I can clearly understand why some people view this kind of investment as highly objectionable.

However this subject gives rise to hypocrisy which is also pretty unsavoury, as seen when the well-healed sneer at “common folk” for woofing down Big Macs, while saying nothing about the considerable health dangers of foie gras. It is hard to avoid the impression that snobbery is at play here. This also applies to things like betting where a visit to the horses is considered to be just fine and dandy while a night spent in a Macau casino is just too vulgar for words. Yet what’s the bottom line at both these places?

Sin will not disappear anytime soon nor are so called sin stocks going away, so…

Stephen Vines is a Hong Kong broadcaster, writer and entrepreneur

________________________________________
Source URL: http://www.scmp.com/business/article/1946658/why-i-love-cigarettes-even-though-i-dont-smoke

Malawi’s forests going up in smoke as tobacco industry takes heavy toll

Malawi is reliant on tobacco for 60% of foreign earnings, but while demand is falling the cost of environmental damage caused by the industry is rising

This high level of marketing in poorer countries is consistent with the tobacco industry’s targeting of these countries. They are key to the industry’s future. In the west, the tobacco industry’s profits continue to increase despite the decline in smoking rates , but it is unclear how long this pricing power will hold out in the face of growing regulations. The requirement for tobacco to be sold in plain packs, due to come into force in the UK next year, is a particular threat.

Of all the world regions, Africa is probably most critical to the long-term future of the tobacco industry. The tobacco epidemic is at its earliest stage in Africa, meaning the industry still has millions of potential customers to recruit. Marketing will drive this recruitment, and industry marketing deliberately targets children, recognising that today’s teenager is tomorrow’s potential regular customer.

It is depressing that 10 years after the framework convention came into force, tobacco marketing remains ubiquitous. Evidence shows that the FCTC has led to significant progress in other areas of tobacco control but that comprehensive bans on marketing are one of the treaty’s least adopted measures. A concerted effort is needed to implement and enforce marketing restrictions before millions more die needlessly. Holding the tobacco industry to account is an essential first step.

British American Tobacco accused of bribing government officials

It is the tobacco industry’s insidious marketing of its product that fuels this increase in tobacco use. Growing numbers of deaths from tobacco will follow, stifling economic development, with the poorest countries hardest hit.

Evidence shows that tobacco marketing drives the uptake of smoking, especially among young people. While the tobacco industry continues to argue that it only markets to persuade adult smokers to switch brands, overwhelming evidence links the industry’s use of marketing to spiralling rates of tobacco use. Before the Soviet Union opened up to “big tobacco”, very few women smoked. Within 10 years of the major tobacco companies flooding the Russian market with marketing, female smoking rates in Russia had doubled and the age of smoking uptake had fallen.

If this epidemic is to be halted, comprehensive bans on tobacco marketing are essential. One hundred and eighty countries are now legally obliged to implement such bans. They are parties to the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). This global treaty, which came into force 10 years ago, sets out evidence-based tobacco control measures which parties must implement.

Yet the latest evidence shows that tobacco industry marketing remains a significant global problem, particularly for people in the poorest countries who are the most exposed to it. Our study, published this week, examined tobacco marketing across 462 communities in 16 countries. It compared levels of marketing in high-, middle- and low-income countries while accounting for differences in access to television, radio and the internet and in the respondents’ gender, age, education, smoking status and whether they have close friends who smoke.

People living in poorer countries were exposed to significantly more tobacco marketing than those living in affluent countries. In communities in low-income countries, 81 times more tobacco adverts were observed than in high-income countries. People in lower-income countries also reported far higher exposure to tobacco adverts over the previous six months. For example, they were 46 times more likely to hear radio adverts, 11 times more likely to see poster adverts and nine times more likely to see television adverts than those living in high-income countries. Overall, those in low-income countries were almost 10 times more likely to report exposure to at least one form of traditional tobacco marketing.

Access to tobacco was also higher in poorer countries. In low-income countries, we observed two and a half times more stores selling tobacco in the communities in the low-income and lower-middle-income countries than in the high-income countries. Worryingly, 64% of stores visited sold single cigarettes compared with just 2.8% in high-income countries. The availability of single cigarettes is a key means of targeting young smokers who often cannot afford to buy a full pack. It is also outlawed in the WHO’s framework convention.

Big tobacco targets the young in poor countries – with deadly consequences

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/dec/01/big-tobacco-industry-targets-young-people-poor-countries-smoking

As smoking rates decline in the west, the tobacco industry is pouring marketing resources into developing countries, in particular trying to draw in young people

Tobacco is the only consumer product that kills when used exactly as the manufacturer intends. It does so at an alarming rate – one in two long-term users will eventually be killed by their habit.

While the use of tobacco is declining in higher income countries, elsewhere it continues to increase. Nearly 80% of the world’s one billion smokers now live in low- and middle-income countries, a figure that continues to increase.

It is the tobacco industry’s insidious marketing of its product that fuels this increase in tobacco use. Growing numbers of deaths from tobacco will follow, stifling economic development, with the poorest countries hardest hit.

Evidence shows that tobacco marketing drives the uptake of smoking, especially among young people. While the tobacco industry continues to argue that it only markets to persuade adult smokers to switch brands, overwhelming evidence links the industry’s use of marketing to spiralling rates of tobacco use. Before the Soviet Union opened up to “big tobacco”, very few women smoked. Within 10 years of the major tobacco companies flooding the Russian market with marketing, female smoking rates in Russia had doubled and the age of smoking uptake had fallen.

If this epidemic is to be halted, comprehensive bans on tobacco marketing are essential. One hundred and eighty countries are now legally obliged to implement such bans. They are parties to the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). This global treaty, which came into force 10 years ago, sets out evidence-based tobacco control measures which parties must implement.

Yet the latest evidence shows that tobacco industry marketing remains a significant global problem, particularly for people in the poorest countries who are the most exposed to it. Our study, published this week, examined tobacco marketing across 462 communities in 16 countries. It compared levels of marketing in high-, middle- and low-income countries while accounting for differences in access to television, radio and the internet and in the respondents’ gender, age, education, smoking status and whether they have close friends who smoke.

People living in poorer countries were exposed to significantly more tobacco marketing than those living in affluent countries. In communities in low-income countries, 81 times more tobacco adverts were observed than in high-income countries. People in lower-income countries also reported far higher exposure to tobacco adverts over the previous six months. For example, they were 46 times more likely to hear radio adverts, 11 times more likely to see poster adverts and nine times more likely to see television adverts than those living in high-income countries. Overall, those in low-income countries were almost 10 times more likely to report exposure to at least one form of traditional tobacco marketing.

Access to tobacco was also higher in poorer countries. In low-income countries, we observed two and a half times more stores selling tobacco in the communities in the low-income and lower-middle-income countries than in the high-income countries. Worryingly, 64% of stores visited sold single cigarettes compared with just 2.8% in high-income countries. The availability of single cigarettes is a key means of targeting young smokers who often cannot afford to buy a full pack. It is also outlawed in the WHO’s framework convention.

This high level of marketing in poorer countries is consistent with the tobacco industry’s targeting of these countries. They are key to the industry’s future. In the west, the tobacco industry’s profits continue to increase despite the decline in smoking rates , but it is unclear how long this pricing power will hold out in the face of growing regulations. The requirement for tobacco to be sold in plain packs, due to come into force in the UK next year, is a particular threat.

Of all the world regions, Africa is probably most critical to the long-term future of the tobacco industry. The tobacco epidemic is at its earliest stage in Africa, meaning the industry still has millions of potential customers to recruit. Marketing will drive this recruitment, and industry marketing deliberately targets children, recognising that today’s teenager is tomorrow’s potential regular customer.

It is depressing that 10 years after the framework convention came into force, tobacco marketing remains ubiquitous. Evidence shows that the FCTC has led to significant progress in other areas of tobacco control but that comprehensive bans on marketing are one of the treaty’s least adopted measures. A concerted effort is needed to implement and enforce marketing restrictions before millions more die needlessly. Holding the tobacco industry to account is an essential first step.