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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Charity “deeply disappointed” by Holyrood committee’s disregard for global treaty 

 

ASH Scotland said Big Tobacco has an opportunity to influence health policy. 

ASH Scotland has raised concerns about the Scottish Parliament’s Health, Social Care and Sport Committee giving two Big Tobacco industry influenced organisations an opportunity to impact health policy

The charity said that decisions could be influenced through two groups’ participation in an evidence session in parliament on May 21, in contravention of a global healthy treaty.

The leading Scottish health charity contends that the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) and the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) involvement in the Committee’s scrutiny of the Tobacco and Vapes Bill legislative consent memorandum runs contrary to Scotland’s long-standing position of supporting the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Article 5.3 to which the UK is a signatory, and which the Scottish Government has committed to upholding since 2013. 

WHO describes tobacco industry interests as ‘fundamentally and irreconcilably opposed’ to the aims of public health’ and, under FCTC Article 5.3, they and their vested or commercial interests are permitted to be engaged only after health policies have been fully developed and engagement should be limited to the extent necessary to implement regulations.

ASH Scotland urged the Committee to withdraw the invitations to UKVIA and SGF, and pointed out that a House of Commons’ Committee did not permit the UKVIA to participate in its oral evidence sessions scrutinising the Tobacco and Vapes Bill on 30 April or 1 May.

From when it was established in 2016 until September 2023, UKVIA’s membership consisted of small independent e-cigarette manufactures and the four major tobacco companies: Japan Tobacco International (JTI), British American Tobacco (BAT), Philip Morris International (PMI) and Imperial Tobacco. 

It still retains tobacco industry linked members such as the part industry-owned JUUL, and the SGF. In May 2023, SGF listed Japan Tobacco International (JTI); Philip Morris International (PMI); British American Tobacco (BAT) and Imperial Brands as corporate members, as well as tobacco industry owned e-cigarette brands. 

Sheila Duffy, chief executive of ASH Scotland, said: “The failure of the Scottish Parliament’s Health Committee to follow WHO guidelines is deeply disappointing and sends a troubling signal that our democratic processes for developing progressive health policies are open to interference by the tobacco industry’s business associates. There is a risk that this decision will be manipulated internationally by the tobacco industry to help justify their claims to be treated as valid public health stakeholders.

“Allowing profit-motivated tobacco corporations’ vested interests to participate in the Committee’s deliberations undermines Scotland’s commitment to shutting out Big Tobacco’s capability to distort public health debates and disrupt or delay much-needed regulation of addictive health-harming products.

“This matters for the health and wellbeing of current and future generations of our children growing up in Scotland, and especially ahead of World No Tobacco Day on 31 May when WHO will put an international spotlight on protecting children from tobacco industry interference.”

 

Comments

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Chris
26 days ago

This is false. As of 2024, the UKVIA has no Big Tobacco companies as members.