OF INTERNATIONAL TOBACCO CONTROL ADVOCATES ON U.S. TOBACCO LITIGATION
It is ironic
that the U.S. tobacco litigation settlement discussions have been labeled
talks aimed at achieving "a global settlement," since the talks
have reportedly excluded consideration of the public health consequences
of U.S. tobacco exports and the U.S. tobacco companies' overseas operations.
It is unacceptable to discuss a comprehensive settlement of the U.S. tobacco
litigation which does not include measures to control the use of U.S.
tobacco products outside of the United States.
percent of the world's smokers are in the United States. As horrible and
monumental as the death and disease caused in the United States by tobacco
is, the toll outside of the United States is much greater. Approximately
85 percent of the annual 3 million tobacco-related deaths occur outside
of the United States. And while smoking and tobacco use rates are relatively
flat or declining in the United States, they are rising elsewhere, especially
in the developing countries. By the 2020s, the World Health Organization
predicts 10 million people will die annually from tobacco related disease,
70 percent in the developing world.
the major U.S. tobacco firms are selling more cigarettes abroad than domestically.
Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds sell more than two thirds of their cigarettes
overseas, and the proportion is growing.
tobacco companies are looking to markets in the Third World and Eastern
Europe for future growth. And in many countries they are using slick and
deceptive advertising and marketing techniques that target children, especially
girls, in ways that would never be tolerated in the United States.
of the U.S. tobacco lawsuits that does not incorporate international tobacco
control measures will fail to address the major tobacco-related public
health problems. Even worse, a U.S. tobacco settlement in the absence
of global controls may actually exacerbate public health threats in the
developing world. If sales fall in the United States, or the U.S. companies
are forced to pay a substantial settlement award, the tobacco multinationals
can be expected to intensify their invasion of the Third World and Eastern
Europe, pursuing marketing and corporate acquisition strategies with even
greater determination. The drying up of information potentially associated
with a settlement, and the inevitable loss of political momentum which
will accompany a settlement, will also damage tobacco control efforts
outside of the United States.
doing public health harm, a settlement must set a worldwide floor on U.S.
tobacco company practices, and the practices of their subsidiaries and
those firms over which they exercise de facto control, including trademark
licensees, without limiting the ability of countries to require companies
to exceed the global minimum standard. Specifically, a settlement should
be structured to:
regulatory controls adopted as part of a settlement to all cigarettes
manufactured in the United States, including those destined for export.
the tobacco companies to agree to a code of conduct embodying the regulatory
provisions contained in a U.S. settlement in areas such as marketing
to children, advertising and marketing, labeling and performance requirements
for reduction of new children smokers. The industry must immediately
agree to end practices such as cigarette giveaways, television advertising,
sports, music and other similar sponsorships and clothing giveaways.
This code should be developed in consultation with the World Health
Organization, the International Union Against Cancer and other international
tobacco control advocates.
the tobacco companies not to oppose efforts in other countries to adopt
regulatory measures (for example, workplace restrictions on smoking
and ingredient regulation) which are in line with World Health Organization
that any immunities or limits on liability granted to the tobacco companies
not apply to the companies' exports or activities or investments abroad.
There should be no immunities or limits on liability or annual caps
covering potential litigation in either U.S. or non-U.S. courts relating
to the tobacco companies' exports or activities and investments abroad.
There should be no immunity or limits on liability applied to enforcement
in U.S. courts of foreign judgments against the tobacco companies.
full public disclosure of the tobacco company documents now obtained
by tobacco litigants and those sought by litigants but currently held
by the tobacco companies under claim of attorney-client privilege.
full public disclosure by the tobacco companies in every country of
all political donations and political lobbying efforts.
non-American victims to the same levels of compensation in U.S. courts
as American victims, and ensure they maintain comparable legal remedies.
the U.S. tobacco companies to offer to compensate foreign government
health agencies, proportional to their market share (taking into account
smuggled cigarettes) and reflecting the formula used to determine their
payment to the states for Medicaid reimbursement.
the tobacco companies to contribute $10 billion annually to the World
Health Organization or other agreed upon international agencies for
tobacco-control programs. This contribution would not preclude non-American
demands for compensation for injuries caused by tobacco.
an explicit stipulation by the tobacco companies that they will not
claim in any context that settlement terms concerning their overseas
sales or operations preclude other governments in any way from adopting
laws and regulations more restrictive than those adopted in the United
an explicit stipulation by the tobacco companies that they will not
seek assistance from the U.S. Trade Representative, the U.S. Department
of Commerce, U.S. embassies or other U.S. government agencies to resist
or repeal other countries' tobacco control regulations and laws.
companies shown to participate in or support international tobacco smuggling.
that international tobacco control advocates be represented on a independent
panel to determine the public health consequences of any final settlement.
Professor Simon Chapman, University of Sydney and Action on Smoking and
Stephen Woodward, Tobacco Control Consultant
Dr. Wali Muna, Tobacco Control Commission for Africa
Gar Mahood, Non-Smokers' Rights Association
Dr. Albert Hirsch, St. Louis Hospital, France
Dr. Judith Mackay, Asian Consultancy on Tobacco Control
Dr. A.J. Hedley, Department of Community Medicine, University of Hong
Dr. Prakash C. Gupta, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
Nobuko Nakano, Women's Action on Smoking
Pamphil H.M. Kweyuh, Executive Coordinator, African Tobacco Media
Program, The Tobacco Control Commission for Africa
Dzulkifli Abdul-Razak, National Poison Center, University Sains Malaysia
Dr. P. Nymadawa, Subassembly of Medical Sciences, Mongolian Academy of
Murray Laugesen, Health New Zealand
Dr. Daniel Tan, Tobacco-Free Philippines Foundation
Dr. Witold Zatonski, Department of Cancer Control & Epidemiology,
Marie Sklodowska Curie Memorial Cancer Centre & Institute of Oncology
Dr. Yussuf Saloojee, National Council Against Smoking
Katherine Everett, Cancer Association of South Africa
Dr. Derek Yach, Essential Health Research Group
Nigel Gray, President, International Union Against Cancer
Dr. David Yen, The John Tung Foundation
Dr. Hatai Chitanondh, Thailand Health Promotion Institute, The National
Stephen L. Hamann, Tobacco Control Policy Research Network
Dr. Elif Dagli, Department of Pediatric Pulmonology, Marmara University
David Simpson, International Agency on Tobacco and Health