Global Treaty Targets Cigarettes
May 7, 2001
The U.S. is one of 150 nations trying to hammer out a treaty aimed at discouraging tobacco use. The treaty -- which is backed by the World Health Organization -- was in its second round of negotiations last week in Geneva.
But U.S. delegates and those from other countries that produce cigarettes are trying to tone down some of its more radical provisions.
- China was the world's leading cigarette producer last year, at 1.67 trillion pieces -- compared to U.S. production of 0.65 trillion.
- Other major cigarette producers are the Russian Federation, Japan and Indonesia.
- While African nations and some in Asia want a world-wide prohibition on the advertising and promotion of cigarettes, the U.S. had to remind those delegations of U.S. constitutional free-speech guarantees.
- The U.S. has proposed removing treaty provisions that call for licensing tobacco retailers, the prohibition of duty-free cigarette sales, and a ban on using terms such as "light" and "mild" -- saying it will not cede that authority under a global treaty.
The U.S. also opposes a ban on subsidies to tobacco growers and does not believe that coordinated tax increases on cigarettes would discourage smoking. U.S. negotiators have also called for the removal from the treaty of a number of measures to curb cigarette smuggling.
Source: Gordon Fairclough and Sarah Lueck, "Talks on Tobacco Treaty Find the U.S. Taking a Milder Stance on Some Issues," Wall Street Journal, May 7, 2001.
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