IndyACT Holds Parliamentarian Committee Responsible for Delaying the Tobacco Control Law

IndyACT Holds Parliamentarian Committee Responsible for Delaying the Tobacco Control Law
 
Today more than 15 female activists from IndyACT did a direct action next to the Lebanese Parliament while the Administration and Justice Committee held yet another session to discuss the tobacco control law. The law is supposed to have banned smoking in closed public spaces long time ago, but after tens of hearings in the parliamentarian committee, the law has not seen the light yet. The goal of the action was to warn those Parliament Members involved from the influence of the tobacco industry, and to push them in passing the law. 
 
The female activists, who posed as pregnant women, wore t-shirts that say “your smoke is killing my baby” with a picture of an infant on their bellies to signify the deadly impact of second-hand smoke on every Lebanese citizen and their children. 
 
IndyACT had previously exposed various illegal interferences from tobacco industry in the drafting of the tobacco control law. Even one time, a tobacco industry representative attended one of the draft law discussion meetings. Any kind of interference from tobacco companies in drafting this law is considered a breach of article 5.3 of the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control that Lebanon had signed and ratified in 2004. “It is clear that tobacco companies are still trying to influence the law, whereby we still hear unconstructive suggestions being introduced during the meetings of the Administration and Justice Committee, which could weaken and delay the adoption of the draft tobacco control law,” said Wael Hmaidan, Executive Director of IndyACT. 
 
 
IndyACT has learned that one of its demands, which is putting a pictorial warning that covers 40% of the cigarette pack and changing it periodically, is not mentioned in a clear and effective manner. The significance of the these pictorial health warnings lies in their ability to leave a noticeable impact in the memory of smokers, where studies show that these warnings are more effective than text warnings and lead to the involvement of the emotional side while providing health information.
 
“Since the ratification of the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control by Lebanon at least 21,000 Lebanese people have died of illnesses directly related to smoking”, said Hmaidan. “The reluctance of the Lebanese Government represented by the Parliamentarian Administration and Justice Committee in passing the tobacco control law only benefits the tobacco industry, and we hold the committee responsible for the additional deaths due to the unnecessary delay”, added Hmaidan.
 
IndyACT in collaboration with the American University of Beirut and Tobacco Free Initiative is organizing a national campaign demanding a modern law for tobacco control that protects the rights of all citizens by banning smoking in closed public spaces and banning all kinds of advertising or sponsoring for tobacco products, in addition to placing pictorial warnings on cigarette packs as per the international agreement that the Lebanese Parliament has ratified.
 
- Editor’s Information – 
You can find pictures and video of this action on our blog: www.indyact.blogspot.com
The text of the Framework Convention for Tobacco control (FCTC): http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2003/9241591013.pdf
The guidelines for implementing article 5.3 of the FCTC, which is related to the interference of the tobacco industry: http://www.who.int/fctc/guidelines/article_5_3.pdf
 
For more information:
Ali Fakhry – Communications Officer at IndyACT – email: comms@indyact.org, phone: 009611447192

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