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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health

Building capacity for a tobacco-free world

July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA

Saturday, July 15, 2006 - 8:30 AM

Developing tobacco control policy in relation to trade agreements

Benn McGrady, VicHealth Centre for Tobacco Control at the Cancer Council of Victoria, 100 Drummond St Carlton, Vic, 3053, Australia

Objective: This paper seeks to assess the merits of calls for tobacco to be excluded from trade agreements per se. Such calls have gone largely unheeded despite the fact that they constitute the most commonly articulated trade related tobacco control policy.

Methods: A number of specific threats posed to tobacco control by trade agreements are used as case studies. Such threats include increases in consumption after liberalisation and restrictions on the ability to regulate tobacco. The effectiveness of excluding tobacco from trade agreements is considered alongside alternative policy proposals that are targeted to the specific threats used as case studies. Each proposal is assessed not only in light of its effectiveness in protecting tobacco related public health but also in light of other public policy goals. Such goals include the promotion of development, equity and economic efficiency.

Results: Tobacco control could be advanced by the development of case by case policy proposals aimed at nullifying the specific threats posed by trade agreements. Such proposals should also take account of other public policy considerations. The total exclusion of tobacco from trade agreements may not significantly advance protection of public health and may sometimes undermine other public policy goals.