February 13, 2012

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Tobacco industry success in Costa Rica: the importance of FCTC article 5.3

Eric Crosbie just published a paper in Salud Publica Mexico (2012 Feb;54(1):28-38) that uses tobacco industry documents, key informant interviews, and other materials to describe how the tobacco industry has dominated and continues to dominate tobacco policy making in Costa Rica.

During the mid-to-late 1980s, Health Ministry issued several advanced (for their time) smoking restriction decrees causing British American Tobacco (BAT) and Philip Morris International (PMI) to strengthen their political presence there, resulting in passage of a weak 1995 law, which, as of August 2011, remained in effect. Since 1995 the industry has used Costa Rica as a pilot site for Latin American programs and has dominated policymaking by influencing the Health Ministry, including direct private negotiations with the tobacco industry which violate Article 5.3's implementing guidelines of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).

The Costa Rica experience demonstrates the importance of vigorous implementation of FCTC Article 5.3 which insulates public health policymaking from industry interference.

The full paper is available here  in English and here in Spanish.

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