Beyond Ratification: The Future for U.S. Engagement on International Tobacco Control
Center for Strategic and International Studies, Global Health Policy Center Report, November 2010
24 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2010 Last revised: 21 Dec 2010
Date Written: November 12, 2010
Tobacco use is arguably the greatest threat to global health. Tobacco use and secondhand smoke kill more people annually than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. Yet, tobacco use is also one of the most preventable threats to global health. Cost-effective, evidence-based tobacco control programs have succeeded in developed and developing countries alike. The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) provides a blueprint for tobacco control programs and a platform for their monitoring and implementation. Despite its widespread adoption, however, FCTC implementation has largely stalled globally due to fierce industry opposition and lack of capacity in low- and middle-income countries.
Many arguing for increased U.S. engagement on global tobacco control have focused on the need for the United States to ratify the FCTC. Given the poor near-term prospects for ratification and the lack of momentum behind FCTC implementation, a new approach is warranted. Although the United States should ratify the FCTC, it should not wait to do so before increasing its support for low- and middle-income countries’ FCTC implementation. This approach would accomplish the same objective - to meaningfully demonstrate U.S. commitment and leadership - and do more to advance global tobacco control. To accomplish those goals, the United States should engage in a four-part strategy to help provide the resources, incentives, and technical support necessary for developing countries’ implementation of the FCTC.
Keywords: Tobacco, Trade, Global Health, International Development, World Health Organization, WTO, FCTC
JEL Classification: I18, I1, Q17, F1, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation