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NEWS policyhome

  • UK high court rules in favour of plain tobacco packaging – a win for global public health

    The tobacco industry has suffered another crushing defeat after losing a UK high court battle on the standardised packaging rules due to come into force today (20 May 2016). Plain packs will be the same shape, size and drab brown colour, displaying graphic health warnings across 65 percent of the front and back surfaces and with written warnings down each side. Branding is banned.

  • New Union study launches index to measure the sustainability of tobacco control programmes

    New research identifies 31 factors that national tobacco control programmes need in order to be sustainable. Published now in the BMJ's Tobacco Control, authors at The Union draw on ten years’ experience assisting governments around the world to build programmes to reduce tobacco use. The study develops an Index of Tobacco Control Sustainability to be used by countries to establish their current level of sustainability and to identify priority areas for development.

  • 85 percent graphic health warnings now compulsory on tobacco packaging in India

    After a two-year battle, a ground-breaking development for public health has seen graphic health warnings on tobacco packaging in India quadruple in size. Harrowing images of the health consequences of tobacco use must now be displayed across 85 percent of the surface area of all tobacco packets -- a measure proven to help users quit and prevent others taking up the habit.

  • Brazil launches first government-run tobacco industry observatory in the Latin America-Caribbean region, with support from The Union

    The government of Brazil, in partnership with The Union, has launched an online observatory to protect and strengthen tobacco control policies by monitoring tobacco industry interference -- the first such government-run initiative in the region.

  • Strong graphic health warnings now compulsory on tobacco packaging in Myanmar

    The health risks of tobacco use must now be graphically displayed across 75 percent of the front and back of all tobacco packages in Myanmar, after new legislation was announced by the Ministry of Health [MoH] today. The new packaging will feature images of the health consequences of tobacco use across 50 percent of the surface area, and text warnings in local language across 25 percent. Old packaging will be illegal from 1 September 2016.

  • Pakistan Supreme Court upholds ban on advertising tobacco products

    Following a protracted legal battle, Pakistan’s Supreme Court has upheld 2014’s law banning all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship – a victory in the campaign to reduce tobacco use. Implementation of this legislation had been delayed after a legal challenge from Philip Morris Pakistan.

  • World Cancer Day, 4 February 2016: highlighting the danger of waterpipes

    Long popular in Africa, South East Asia and the Middle East, shisha or water pipes are increasingly popular in other regions – despite the risk for cancer that they pose to both smokers and those exposed to second-hand smoke.

  • New course on sustainable funding for tobacco control piloted in Dhaka, Bangladesh

    A new course on building sustainable funds for tobacco control programmes has been successfully piloted in Bangladesh.The pilot launched the next phase of The Union’s innovative work to help develop sustainable funding mechanisms that are tailored for the legal and financial context of individual countries – the goal being to secure consistent cash flow for programmes to reduce tobacco use in today’s over-burdened health systems.

  • New data from highly polluted cities indicate air quality inside venues where people smoke is worse than outdoors

    Research carried out in six cities with dangerous levels of air pollution indicates that air quality inside venues that allow smoking is even worse than outdoors. The study, published today in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research, was co-authored by tobacco control experts at the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease and the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.

  • Conference plenary: Taxing health-harming products and creating health promotion funds

    The third plenary of the Union World Conference on Lung Health 2015, explored how governments are innovating to transform under-funded areas of public health through taxing products that harm health, and earmarking these increased revenues for specific programmes.

  • Experts review Africa’s progress on tax measures to reduce tobacco use

    Economists and public health experts met to discuss how far tax mechanisms are being used across Africa to reduce tobacco consumption. The central African region was a focus.

    The three-hour special session gathered attendees from 10 countries. Its purpose was to highlight best practice, assess impact and consider how to expedite the progress of this tobacco control measure.

  • New tactics to tackle tobacco industry interference announced at 46th Union conference

    New tools to combat tobacco industry strategies that undermine and delay public health policy were announced at a working group meeting for Union members at the annual conference. Preventing industry interference is one of the most complex, but important elements of any tobacco control programme – this working group offers members support to develop these measures.

  • Argentina’s Supreme Court throws out tobacco industry suit against pioneering smokefree policy – precedent now set for sub-national tobacco control initiatives

    After a nine-year legal battle, the Argentine Supreme Court of Justice has dismissed a lawsuit brought by a British American Tobacco (BAT) subsidiary, against the Province of Santa Fe’s trailblazing tobacco control law, which includes a 100 percent ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS) and an interdict on smoking in public places.

  • Progress for India’s 85 percent graphic health warnings on tobacco packs – now due April 2016

    India’s Ministry of Health has announced that pictorial health warnings covering 85 percent of the display surface of all tobacco products will now be introduced in April 2016.

  • Over 90 per cent of the public support smokefree environments in China, major survey finds

    More than 90 per cent of participants in the China City Adult Tobacco Survey 2013-14 supported a total ban on smoking inside public places including healthcare facilities, workplaces, schools and taxis. Over 80 per cent of respondents also supported restrictions on smoking in restaurants.

  • Tobacco control advocates take Pakistan government to court for reneging on 85% graphic health warnings

    Civil society groups in Pakistan have issued a high court petition to prevent the Ministry of National Health Services Regulation and Coordination from withdrawing life-saving legislation to reduce tobacco use. The new law – which was due to come into force on 31 July – required 85 per cent of the surface area of all tobacco packaging to be covered with harrowing photos of the health consequences of smoking.

  • The President of Uruguay meets with The Union to discuss next steps for tobacco control

    The President of Uruguay, Tabaré Vázquez, met on 27 July with Mirta Molinari, The Union's regional coordinator for tobacco control in Latin America, and representatives from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) and the Framework Convention Alliance (FCA) to discuss Uruguay's leading role in tobacco control and the country's next steps in this global fight.

  • Newsweek Pakistan forced to apologise for love song to the Marlboro Man

    TheNetwork for Consumer Protection has won a judgment against Newsweek Pakistan for publishing an article that both implicitly and explicitly promoted tobacco use and the use of Phillip Morris products. In the opinion of the Inquiry Commission of the Press Council of Pakistan, this violated the country’s Ethical Code of Practice.

  • The WHO FCTC: saving lives for a decade

    The only international health treaty -- drawn up to prevent the suffering and premature death caused by tobacco use -- came into force ten years ago on February 27.

    Ten years on, and just ten percent of the world's nations have not yet committed to the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) -- an internationally coordinated strategy to reduce tobacco use.

  • Russia – smokeless tobacco ban

    Sales of all forms of smokeless tobacco, including snus, chewing tobacco and snuff, have been banned in Russia’s Republic of Tatarstan. The new law will be enforced by the police, Drug Control Service and Consumer Rights Protection body, under the guidance of the Department for Health and Sport. Violators will be fined between 3,000 and 30, 000 roubles.

    Policy-makers in Tatarstan are now assisting the federal government with developing a similar, national law. 

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The Tobacco Control Department is based at The Union Europe Office, Edinburgh, registered charity no. SC039880
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