475 H Street, NW
Tel: 202 682-5864
Fax: 202 682-5874

Statement for release Feb 12, 2003

Contact Cassandra Welch 202-785-3355

As this nation's oldest voluntary health organization, the American Lung Association sees the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control as an unprecedented opportunity for the United States to step forward to save millions of lives worldwide.

From the very start of the treaty talks, the American Lung Association has called for a strong, effective, enforceable treaty that will promote public health over trade interests, ban all tobacco advertising, ban tobacco industry use of misleading language such as "light" and "low tar," protect people from the health risks of exposure to secondhand smoke, and end tobacco industry targeting of woman and girls, especially in developing countries.

Unfortunately, the U.S. delegation to the treaty-making process has failed to support - and has even tried to block - meaningful treaty provisions, placing the interests of Big Tobacco ahead of public health.

The admirable goals of the treaty - to institutionalize effective, scientifically based tobacco control and prevention policies - are being lost as political, economic and trade considerations are allowed undue influence. As the treaty-drafting process comes to a close in the next few weeks, the American Lung Association urges the U.S. negotiating team to argue loudly and forcefully for a treaty based, first and foremost, on protecting health. If the U.S. team cannot do that, then it should step aside in the final negotiations. The U.S. failure to support a meaningful treaty should not prevent the rest of the world from acting to protect the health of their citizens.