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2016 global tobacco control Hot Spots



Many new hot spots have flared up in global tobacco control in 2016; others remain from last year.

There are two recurring themes:

1/ Governments are tightening regulations on packaging as a main vehicle for tobacco advertising, as per the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC); 2/ The tobacco industry continues to fight implementation of these and other FCTC measures, sometimes publicly, often behind the scenes.

We update progress on plain packaging in a separate map. Please let us know if you think we’ve overlooked other burning, or simmering, issues.

The federal government elected late last year has pledged to adopt plain packaging of tobacco products. No details have yet been released.

Watch our video.

Tobacco control measures are gradually being approved and put into place. They include bans on public smoking in the capital Beijing and 10 other cities and on tobacco advertising.

Read our article.

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
Tobacco control advocates are hoping that a new law will be passed this year. The legislation has been in the making since 2006, and has faced intense opposition from the tobacco industry.

Read our article.

Tobacco control advocates are hoping that a new law will be passed this year. In February, authorities in the capital Addis Ababa said they would start enforcing public smoke-free areas.

European Union
The European Commission is scheduled to adopt a proposal on tracking and tracing of tobacco products, as a tool to fight illicit trade. Tobacco industry lobbying has accelerated in response. Simultaneously, the EC has postponed its decision on whether to renew a controversial deal that protected some tobacco firms that agreed to cooperate with anti-smuggling measures from smuggling charges.

Read this article from the Head of the FCTC Secretariat.

Watch our video.

Like Ireland and the UK, France is scheduled to have plain tobacco packs (free of colours, logos and all other branding), on store shelves by May.

Read our article

Delays in passing enabling legislation have put on hold the measures in the tobacco control law, which were approved in 2013 after five years of intense advocacy led by civil society, opposed by the tobacco industry.

Read our article.

Despite passing its tobacco control law four years ago, Ghana has still not implemented its provisions. The enabling legislation needed to put the law into force has been under discussion in parliament for over a year.

Watch our video.

After postponing in 2015 a plan to introduce larger graphic health warnings, covering 85 percent of tobacco packages, the central government now says this will happen on 1 April 2016. New Delhi will host the seventh session of the Conference of the Parties to the FCTC on 7-12 November.

Read our article.

Indonesia is one of the largest countries that is not yet a Party to the WHO FCTC; it’s estimated that more than two-thirds of adult males there are smokers. There have been some positive steps recently. For example, in 2014, graphic health warnings became mandatory on tobacco packages.

However, in 2015 the Tobacco Bill was introduced into Parliament. Unlike an earlier bill, it emphasises the economic impact of tobacco rather than the disastrous health effects.

Watch our video.

Like France and the UK, Ireland is scheduled to have plain tobacco packs (free of colours, logos and all other branding), on store shelves by May. In December 2015 the European Court of Justice, in a preliminary ruling, rejected a challenge to the legislation by tobacco giants Philip Morris and British American Tobacco.

The tobacco industry, via British American Tobacco (BAT), has fought all attempts to implement regulations for the Tobacco Control Law, including suing the government for violating the constitution in its consultation process. The matter is now in the courts.

Activists are pushing the government to take action against BAT after a BBC-TV program accused the company of trying to bribe influential policy makers in order to hamper the implementation of tobacco control measures.

Read our article.

In 2001 Imperial Tobacco signed a 25-year deal with the Lao Government to limit increases on tobacco taxes for tobacco products produced and sold in the country. FCA member SEATCA says that by 2020 the tobacco industry will more than double its income in Laos, from US$187 million in 2013 to $424m in 2018.

After a long struggle by tobacco control advocates, Nigeria passed a law in 2015. However, it has still not approved enabling legislation.

In February 2015 the Government of Pakistan announced it would increase the size of graphic health warnings on tobacco packages to 85 percent of the pack surface, but it has rescheduled the due date several times. In January 2016 it said it would give the tobacco industry one more month to comply with the new regulation.

Delays in passing enabling legislation have delayed the measures in the tobacco control law, passed in 2014. Included in the law is a ban on all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

Read our article.

The Government of Singapore is holding consultations until 29 March 2016 on a series of proposed measures: plain packaging, raising to 21 the minimum age to buy tobacco products, and restricting sales of flavoured tobacco products.

United Kingdom
Watch our video.

Like France and Ireland, the UK is scheduled to have plain tobacco packs (free of colours, logos and all other branding), on store shelves by May. In response the tobacco industry sued the UK Government: a decision is expected soon.

Watch our video

A decision is expected in the first half of 2016 in the case launched by tobacco industry giant Philip Morris International at the World Bank against Uruguay’s packaging measures. The government has announced that it will introduce plain packaging soon after the decision is known.

Read our article.

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