Taking action on smoking and health
PRESS RELEASE – Embargo 00:01 Thursday 10th September (can be used in Thursday editions)
A coalition of health charities and professional bodies has today (9th Sept) submitted a Public Petition (PEO1580) calling on the Scottish Parliament authorities to set limits on engagement with tobacco industry representatives.
The petition highlights that the UK is bound by an international health treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. This recognises the tobacco industry’s long history of interference in legitimate public health policies and sets strict limits on engagement with the tobacco industry. Yet no guidance or information has been provided to MSPs or Parliament staff as to how this impacts on their work.
The Convention does not prohibit signatories from engagement with the tobacco industry but recognises that the interests of the industry are in direct conflict with the goals of public health, and therefore sets strict guidelines around any interaction
Yet this week the Head of Corporate Affairs and Communications from Japan Tobacco International (JTI), one of the world’s largest tobacco companies, gave evidence to a meeting of the Health and Sport Committee. His invitation followed a submission by the E-Lites electronic cigarette company, owned by JTI, which appeared to not even relate to tobacco. The petition submits that “For a senior tobacco industry representative to give evidence to a Parliamentary Committee on a submission which claims to not relate to smoking raises serious concerns over the Framework Convention obligations regarding transparency.”
Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of health charity ASH Scotland, said:
“The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is there because there is fundamental conflict between tobacco industry profits and the health and well-being of their customers. For years tobacco companies have tried to protect their interests by opposing health policies and this is why they have been singled out for restrictions.
“We know that the tobacco industry seeks to influence political action on health, as shown by the millions it recently threw at opposing plain packaging for tobacco products. MSPs and Parliament staff need to know about this history, and the limits placed on engaging with the tobacco industry.”
For further information: Please contact Sheila Duffy on 07776 142 299
Note: Sheila Duffy will be available for ISDN interview until 4.30pm on 9th September.
1) Petition submitted by
Prof Derek Bell – President, Royal College of Physicians EdinburghDr Peter Bennie – Chair, British Medical Association ScotlandDr Alastair Cook – Chair, Royal College of Psychiatrists in ScotlandSheila Duffy – Chief Executive, ASH ScotlandGeoff Earl – Chair, Lothian Branch Royal College of NursingIrene Johnstone – Head of British Lung Foundation Scotland and Northern IrelandMartin Keeley – President REHISGregor McNie – Senior Public Affairs Manager, Cancer Research UKProf Alan Rodger - Former Medical Director, Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre (retired)
2) The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is the world’s first international treaty on health and was developed by the World Health Organisation. Further information can be accessed at http://www.who.int/fctc/en/)
3) A review of tobacco industry interference in health policies can be found at http://www.bath.ac.uk/ipr/policy-briefs/tobacco-companies-undermining-health-policy.html
For further information please contact ASH Scotland on 0131 225 4725 or firstname.lastname@example.org Out of hours mobile 07776 142 299
Action on Smoking & Health (Scotland) (ASH Scotland) is a registered Scottish charity (SC 010412) and a company limited by guarantee(Scottish company no 141711). The registered office is 8 Frederick Street, Edinburgh EH2 2HB.
ASH Scotland acknowledges with thanks the support of the British Heart Foundation and the Scottish Government in developing our website.