WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Cape Town Declaration on Human Rights and a Tobacco-Free World, affirming that the production, marketing and sale of tobacco products is incompatible with basic human rights, has been adopted by over 150 organizations and prominent public health leaders from around the globe. The evidence is irrefutable, cigarettes kill more than five million people every year, yet the tobacco industry continues to produce, market, sell and profit from products that they know will kill when used as intended and that they have engineered to be highly addictive, preventing smokers from quitting.
The Cape Town Declaration was adopted in March at the World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH), a triennial meeting of scientists, government officials and advocates, held in Cape Town, South Africa. In addition to hundreds of groups and individuals, the Declaration was also formally adopted by the annual meeting of the European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention (ENSP) in June representing hundreds of participants from 44 countries.
"The Cape Town Declaration is a historic joint statement reaffirming that the tobacco industry infringes on human rights," said Dr. Flavia Senkubuge, President of the 17th World Conference. "We have it in our power to prevent millions of deaths, but governments must act now."
This means governments must accelerate the full implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). And, they must remember that the FCTC is the floor and not the ceiling regarding regulations needed to fully protect the right of their citizens to the highest attainable standard of physical health, recognized in numerous human rights treaties and national constitutions.
Governments must implement regulatory and legal responses to harmful tobacco products that are proportional to the magnitude of harm they cause. The tobacco industry made claims over the past 70 years that if cigarettes were found to damage health, they would stop selling them "immediately." While the tobacco industry no longer disputes the insurmountable evidence that their products kill over half of their long-term customers, the sale of cigarettes continues.
"Governments have a duty to protect and enforce human rights, even against abuses perpetrated by corporations," said Laurent Huber, Executive Director of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH). "They cannot sit idly by but must instead work to phase cigarettes out of the market and hold the responsible industries criminally liable for their actions."
In addition to public health groups, the Cape Town Declaration has been embraced by organizations and individuals working in human rights, development, environmental protection, corporate accountability, and investment.
ACTION ON SMOKING AND HEALTH
Founded in 1967, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is America's oldest anti-tobacco organization, dedicated to a world with ZERO tobacco deaths. Because tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide, ASH supports bold solutions proportionate to the magnitude of the problem. ash.org
Contact: Megan Arendt, (202) 659 – 4310
SOURCE Action on Smoking and Health