Big tobacco, little kids: “They got lips? We want them.”

Looking ahead to the upcoming seventh FCTC COP, we came across this striking speech from the sixth COP, by WHO Director-General Margaret Chan.

Can’t help but wonder what ITIC are planning this time.

Most recently, and in a particularly brazen move, the tobacco industry brought its agenda and it its voice here to the heart of tobacco control. Yesterday, the International Tax and Investment Centre, whose board of directors includes several tobacco companies, convened Parties and Observers to discuss tobacco tax and price policies without fully disclosing their vested interests.

Please, do not be fooled by them.

Their agenda, at least, is easy to see: to undermine your power, your efforts to adopt the robust, expert-driven proposed guidelines on tobacco tax and price policy. These guidelines, when used to implement the treaty’s Article 6, will protect children and young people, in particular, from initiating tobacco use.

There is an exchange of views recorded in the mountains of internal industry documents that are now in the public domain. Let me share with you one such document. It records a discussion – an internal discussion – about whether the industry should consider children as part of its market. I remember very well one reply, which I would like to quote directly: “They got lips? We want them.”

So ladies and gentlemen, this is the kind of tobacco industry tactic. They just want more and more market share. They could not care less if they are killing children.

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