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WHO FCTC article 5.3: promise but little progress
  1. Ruth E Malone,
  2. Stella Aguinaga Bialous
  1. Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Professor Ruth E Malone, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94118, USA; ruth.malone{at}ucsf.edu

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Six years after the Third Session of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) adopted strong implementation guidelines for the treaty's Article 5.3,1 that article's promise for protecting tobacco control policymaking from tobacco industry interference remains almost entirely unrealised. While some government agencies, mostly health-focused, have instituted policies about contact with industry representatives, no government has fully publicised and implemented policies throughout government to insulate the policymaking process from tobacco company shenanigans. In fact, in some cases governments seem to be moving backward as they develop new ‘partnerships’ with tobacco companies around illicit trade issues, particularly during negotiations for and adoption in November 2012 of the WHO FCTC Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products. The protocol has specific language about respecting implementation of Article 5.3 and explicitly cautions that obligations under the protocol should not be performed by or delegated to the tobacco industry.2

For examples of backward-facing initiatives, in Azerbaijan, Japan Tobacco International organised a seminar for the States Customs Committee to discuss progress in addressing cigarette smuggling.3 In Mali, BAT and Imperial tobacco companies are jointly supporting an awareness campaign on illicit trade with the National Directorate of Trade & Competition4; in Namibia, the Ministry of Finance signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Tobacco Institute of …

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