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In a year when the world grew ever more cynical about the United States’ role in the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) negotiations, it was heartening to see protests by US citizens calling on their government to take a responsible, leadership role in support of a tough convention. In July, several hundred people, including around 200 teenagers involved with the Reality Check youth empowerment programme, convened near the United Nations headquarters in New York City. Their message to the US delegation to the FCTC negotiations was: “Save Lives, Not Big Tobacco!”. The centrepiece of the demonstration was a large model of a Marlboro pack, subtly improved to specify the contents as “US pack of lies”.
Accompanying the pack were two large, removable cigarettes bearing common ‘lies’ that delegates said were repeatedly been promoted by both the US delegation and Philip Morris, makers of real life Marlboro cigarettes. Another two cigarettes bore straight statements, such as “Tobacco Money is Addictive”. Being New York, noted for the sardonic humour of its citizens, one of the cigarettes proclaimed: “Low Tar Death is Healthier”.