The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC)1 and its Parties acknowledge that
the tobacco industry represents a serious threat to the achievement of the Convention’s goals and objectives. In fact, Article 5.3 of the WHO FCTC calls on Parties to protect public health policies from the commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry. All governmental sectors – including direct administration, with the executive, legislative and judicial branches, as well as indirect and autonomous administration –are bound to comply with Article 5.3.
In 2009, the Conference of the Parties approved by consensus the guidelines2 to assist Parties in meeting their legal obligations under this article of the WHO FCTC. The Guidelines remind everyone that there is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry’s interests and public health policy interests. On the one hand, the tobacco industry produces and promotes a product that has been proven scientifically to be highly addictive, to harm and kill many and to give rise to a variety of social ills, including increased poverty. On the other hand, many governments and public health workers try to improve the health of their populations by implementing the measures to reduce the use of tobacco contained in the WHO FCTC. The tobacco industry recognizes the impact of these measures on its sales and actively fights against them. Time and time again it has used its resources to kill off these public health policies, water them down when it cannot stop them altogether, and undermine their enforcement when they are passed.
This technical resource presents information to support the implementation of the Article 5.3 Guidelines
by sharing practical action steps and best practices and examples applicable to the implementation of
Article 5.3. It also includes links to supporting materials for easy reference. The technical resource should always be used in association with the text of the WHO FCTC and with its Article 5.3 Guidelines.
The target audience of this publication is government authorities and employees at all levels, since the
Article 5.3 Guidelines are applicable to all branches and levels of government. It is expected that coordinators and managers of tobacco control programmes will take the lead in the dissemination and application of this technical resource, helping countries to comply with Article 5.3. The technical resource may also be useful to people in academia, nongovernmental organizations and the private sector who are involved in implementation of the WHO FCTC.
All the tobacco industry’s tactics and interference with public policy-making are aimed at increasing
tobacco consumption and are detrimental to public health.