Rights polluted

Halting the spread of the tobacco ‘epidemic’ worldwide would align with a human right that global leaders should recognise and act upon, according to a story by Sarantis Michalopoulos for euractiv.com quoting public health activists.

“The tobacco industry floods countries with an addictive and lethal product, cigarettes, which kill over seven million people per year,” said Laurent Huber, director of US Action on Smoking & Health (ASH), talking ahead of two anti-tobacco conferences in Bucharest, Romania.

“For this reason, the global health community and some human rights agencies recognise that the tobacco industry violates the rights to life and health and undermines many other rights including children’s rights and women[‘s] rights.”

A Global Forum on Human Rights and a Tobacco-Free World was due to be held today in Romania by the European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention (ENSP) and ASH. It was to be hosted by the Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.

In addition, on March 27-29, ENSP is due to hold its 4th International Conference on Tobacco Control, together with the Romanian Society of Pneumology.

Both conferences were said to be aimed at bringing together global leaders in health and human rights in order to co-ordinate the fight against tobacco and upgrade it to the level of a human right.

‘The nexus between tobacco control and recognised human rights is clear, particularly in the case of the rights to health and life recognised in numerous human rights treaties and national constitutions, but encompassing many other rights as well,’ the organisers reportedly said in a statement.

“Human rights norms and obligations can be powerful tools to combat tobacco industry interference in policy-making and litigation.’