October 10th, 2011

WHO chief accuses 'big tobacco' of dirty tricks

By Mynardo Macaraig
Medical XPress

WHO director-general Margaret Chan accused cashed-up tobacco firms of using lawsuits to try and subvert national laws and international conventions aimed at curbing cigarette sales.

“It is horrific to think that an industry known for its dirty tricks and dirty laundry could be allowed to trump what is clearly in the public’s best interests,” Chan said at a WHO meeting in the Philippine capital on Monday.

Chan cited legal actions by the tobacco industry against anti-smoking measures in Australia and Uruguay, saying these were “scare tactics” intended to frighten other countries from following suit.

“It is hard for any country to bear the financial burden of this kind of litigation, but most especially so for small countries,” she said.

“Big tobacco can afford to hire the best lawyers and PR firms that money can buy. Big money can speak louder than any moral, ethical or public health argument and can trample even the most damning scientific evidence”.

Chan called on the countries at the forum of Western Pacific nations to fight back.

“I urge all these countries to stand firm together, do not bow to pressure… we must never allow the tobacco industry to get the upper hand,” she said.

Read more: http://bit.ly/roIaFi

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