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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2490

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Undeserving of “Cancer Gold Standard” Because of Its Global Lobbying for Big Tobacco

By Manjari Peiris

The President of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Matthew L. Meyers, issuing a statement says that it is incomprehensible that the US Chamber of Commerce has been recognized by the CEO Roundtable on Cancer for its efforts against cancer when the Chamber has helped the tobacco industry fight life-saving and cancer preventing tobacco control policies around the world, as recently revealed by a multi pact investigation by The New York Times.

The Chamber’s [pro-tobacco activities are undermining global efforts to fight cancer, far from helping to reduce cancer.

The US Chamber of Commerce is undeserving of the “CEO Cancer Gold Standard” which it was recently awarded by the CEO Roundtable on Cancer, a nonprofit organization of CEO’s, because of its pro-tobacco activities.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids calls on the CEO Roundtable on Cancer to rescind this recognition until the US Chamber of Commerce ceases all activities on behalf of the tobacco industry and against tobacco control policies.

The President of CTFK urges the CEO Roundtable on Cancer to realize that there is a fundamental conflict between its worthy mission of combating cancer and the Chamber’s activities on behalf of the tobacco industry.

Tobacco use is a leading cause of cancer in the United States and worldwide. It causes one-third of all cancer deaths in the U.S. and more than 20 percent of all cancer deaths worldwide (according to the U.S. Surgeon General and The 2015 Tobacco Atlas). So preventing and reducing tobacco use is critical to fighting cancer.

However, rather than supporting efforts to reduce tobacco use, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has done the opposite. As documented in both The New York Times investigation (From Ukraine to Uruguay, Moldova to the Philippines, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its foreign affiliates have become the hammer for the tobacco industry, engaging in a worldwide effort to fight antismoking laws of all kinds, according to interviews with government ministers, lobbyists, lawmakers and public health groups in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the United States.

The U.S. Chamber’s work in support of the tobacco industry in recent years has emerged as a priority at the same time the industry has faced one of the most serious threats in its history. A global treaty, negotiated through the World Health Organization, mandates anti-smoking measures and also seeks to curb the influence of the tobacco industry in policy making. The treaty, which took effect in 2005, has been ratified by 179 countries; holdouts include Cuba, Haiti and the United States.

Facing a wave of new legislation around the world, the tobacco lobby has turned for help to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, with the weight of American business behind it. While the chamber’s global tobacco lobbying has been largely hidden from public view, its influence has been widely felt.

Letters, emails and other documents from foreign governments, the chamber’s affiliates and antismoking groups, which were reviewed by The New York Times, show how the chamber has embraced the challenge, undertaking a three-pronged strategy in its global campaign to advance the interests of the tobacco industry.

In the capitals of far-flung nations, the chamber lobbies alongside its foreign affiliates to beat back anti smoking laws.)

And a recent report by public health organizations, the Chamber has systematically worked on behalf of the tobacco industry to fight tobacco control policies in more than a dozen countries. The Chamber has lobbied governments against smoke-free laws, increased tobacco taxes and warning labels on tobacco products – measures proven to reduce the horrific burden of tobacco-related disease, including cancer.

These revelations about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce prompted CVS Health to resign from the Chamber, as the company announced that tobacco use posed a direct conflict to its mission of helping people on a path to better health.

As long as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce continues to help the tobacco industry fight tobacco control policies, it cannot be viewed as legitimately committed to the fight against cancer.

- Asian Tribune -

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Undeserving of “Cancer Gold Standard” Because of Its Global Lobbying for Big Tobacco
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