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2004ASAP--Session 1 Who  Me  An Activist
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2004ASAP--Session 1 Who Me An Activist


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  • 1. Who, me, an activist? Debra Efroymson (Nga) Regional Director PATH Canada, Dhaka
  • 2. Why is tobacco control needed?
  • 3. Tobacco control for…health
    • 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke
    • Over 40 known carcinogens in tobacco smoke
    • Causes many kinds of cancer, plus heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, etc. etc.
    • Biggest cause of preventable death
    • Takes on average 8 years of life from smokers
    • Causes many diseases in non-smokers exposed to smoke
  • 4. Tobacco control for…environment
    • Trees cut down to create land to plant tobacco
    • Trees cut down to dry tobacco
    • Chemical wastes from tobacco production pollute land and water
    • Fires caused by smoking
    • Smoking main cause of indoor air pollution
  • 5. Tobacco control for…economy
    • Foreign exchange wasted importing tobacco
    • Money not spent on tobacco can be invested in the economy, creating more jobs and improving life
    • Health care costs, lost productivity
    • Tobacco mostly consumed by those who can least afford it—further drain on resources for the poorest
  • 6. Tobacco control because…I’m angry!
    • Who is stronger: government or the tobacco industry?
    • Does an industry have the right to tell lies and deceive people?
    • Does an industry have the right to market a deadly, addictive product?
  • 7. Why I’m angry at the tobacco industry: they…
    • Lied about health effects for decades
    • Market to young people and lie about it
    • Lied about tobacco being addictive
    • Lied about low-tar cigarettes being healthier
    • Continue to lie about passive smoking
  • 8. More reasons!
    • Buy off other industries (hospitality, advertising)
    • Try to stop governments from passing law
    • Are active in smuggling cigarettes
    • Pretend to represent farmers
    • Run counter-effective youth prevention programs
    • Have tried to infiltrate the WHO
  • 9. Health effects
    • In 1950s tobacco industry knew smoking caused cancer; denied it for decades
    • “The problem is how do you sell death? How do you sell poison that kills 350,000 people per year, 1,000 people a day?”—former marketing consultant to 5 tobacco companies
  • 10. Targeting youth
    • “…the base of our business is the high school student.” (Lorillard, 1978)
    • “The loss of younger adult males and teenagers is more important to the long term, drying up the supply of new smokers to replace the old. This is not a fixed loss to the industry: its importance increases with time.” (RJR 1982)
  • 11. Addictiveness of tobacco
    • “Nicotine is addictive. We are, then, in the business of selling nicotine—an addictive drug…” (B&W 1963)
    • “…BAT should learn to look at itself as a drug company rather than as a tobacco company.” (BAT 1980)
  • 12. Low tar (light) cigarettes
    • Industry wish: “reassure the consumer that these brands are relatively more ‘healthy’” (BAT 1971)
    • Despite industry claims and suggestions, “…the effect of switching to low tar cigarettes may be to increase, not decrease, the risks of smoking.” Tobacco Advisory Council, 1979
  • 13. Passive smoking
    • Philip Morris spent millions of dollars in the 1990s to undermine a study on the dangers of passive smoking
    • “Our objective is to limit the introduction and spread of smoking restrictions and maintain the widespread social acceptability of smoking in Asia.” (PM 1989)
  • 14. Threatening politicians
    • “Let politicians know the down-side of anti-activity by identifying a vulnerable candidate, bringing forces to bear to cause him/her to lose the election, then discreetly let other politicians know we have done this.” (PM 1987)
  • 15. Smuggling
    • “Following a loss of share in 1992, ITL rebounded by making its major trademarks available in smuggled channels…” (Imperial Tobacco, 1994)
  • 16. Farmers
    • Established the International Tobacco Growers’ Association (ITGA) as an industry front group (work done by an ad agency in England, not by farmers)
    • “…support of the Growers will be invaluable in our continued battle with critics of the industry…” (BAT 1988)
    • In fact, most farmers are very poor
  • 17. Youth
    • Brown & Williamson “will not support a youth smoking program which discourages young people from smoking.” (Tobacco Institute 1983)
    • “They make the cigarettes, then tell us not to smoke them—isn’t there any other target for their mischief?”—15-year old male student in Bangladesh
  • 18. WHO
    • Spend millions attacking and fighting the WHO
    • “Paul has managed to persuade PAHO to take tobacco off their list of priorities for this year.” (BAT 1991)
  • 19. Conclusion Tobacco control because:
    • Tobacco kills those who buy it
    • Tobacco smoke hurts and kills those exposed to it
    • Tobacco cultivation harms the environment
    • Tobacco harms economies (individual, family, national)
    • The tobacco industry can’t be trusted
  • 20. Thanks!