Koror, Palau – October 18, 2021 – A civil society report finds there is room for improvement to prevent tobacco industry interference in health.  The report is a result of Palau’s first participation in an international survey reviewing tobacco industry interference in measures protecting public health.  It will be officially released on Wednesday, 20 October,

Palau obtained 40 out of 100 points in the Tobacco Industry Interference Index, that reviews a country’s response to protecting public health measures from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry. Palau is committed to protect public health policies as stated in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) ratified in 2004.  The report focuses on Article 5.3 of the Treaty that addresses tobacco industry interference.

In this survey, countries are ranked – a higher score reveals greater interference. For example, in 2020, out of 57 countries, Brunei Darussalam had the best score with 14 points while Zambia had a score of 78.  Other high scoring countries included China, Columbia, Georgia, Jordan and Romania all scoring 77.   The 2021 Global Index will be launched on November 2nd

While key findings from Palau’s report show no evidence of recent incidents of interference by the tobacco industry, the Republic remains vulnerable to such interference.  Where Palau does fall short however, is with respect to preventive measures such as appropriate provisions in the government code of conduct, requirements for openness from the tobacco industry regarding information on tobacco production, manufacture, marketing expenditures, revenues and other activity. Another gap is lack of activity to consistently raise awareness within government departments on policies relating to WHO FCTC Article 5.3 and the Guidelines.

The report recommends several areas for action in order that the Palau government may show clear commitment to Guiding Principle 1 of the WHO FCTC Article 5.3 Guidelines: “There is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry’s interests and public health”. Now is an opportune moment for policy makers to step up tobacco control measures.

The report was produced by the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Palau. Technical assistance was provided by the Global Centre for Good Governance in Tobacco Control (GGTC).  Palau’s Tobacco Industry Interference Index will form part of the Global Tobacco Index produced by the Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products (STOP) and supported by the Bloomberg Philanthropies.

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