Tobacco Companies Lure UNICEF To Promote Smoking

The tobacco industries have succeeded in manipulating the renowned humanitarian United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to reduce advocacy on children's right to a tobacco free life. This was disclosed in a paper presented by an associate professor of the University of California San Francisco, Dr Stella A. Bialous who is also an expert in the centre for Tobacco Control Research and Education of the same university. UNICEF, a 70-year-old organization established by the United Nations that is currently active in some 190 countries around the world, focuses on the rights of children world-wide. The children agency had formed an early collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to reduce tobacco use among youth and had backed the international convention on the right of the child of 1989 which established civil, political, economic, health and other protection, and has been accepted by every United Nations member except the United States. Bialous in her paper went on to explain that as part of tobacco companies' strategies to improve their corporate images, started funding and partnering with UNICEF. That after UNICEF loosened its guidelines on funding from the tobacco industry; it opened the door for the tobacco industry to form partnerships that appeared to undermine its involvement in tobacco control. According to the paper, the tobacco companies saw UNICEF as holding substantial power and influence worldwide, and stressed that it should be "monitored closely. For example a 1998 documents which discussed how tobacco control advocates could "exploit provisions in the convention on the rights of the children adopted by the United Nations in 1989. Bialous also stated that before then, UNICEF coined a strong role in tobacco control, viewing it as essential to children's rights, and called for tobacco advertising bans, raising tobacco taxes and health education, and initiated joint youth smoking prevention project with the WHO. Bialous said WHO and UNICEF publishes a joint report in 2001 on tobacco and children's rights that emphasized the need to protect children from starting to smoke, from secondhand smoke exposure, from smoke exposure, from tobacco marketing and child labour on tobacco farms. But after, according to the new report, the tobacco industry began engaging with UNICEF in an attempt to neutralize UNICEF's anti-tobacco advocacy, which resulted in UNICEF embarking on a much lower profile in tobacco control and proactively engaged in support of tobacco industry public relations initiatives. In 2003, a tobacco-industry from group mounted a campaign purportedly to prevent child labour in the Philippines, on which UNICEF served as an advisor. In 2010, the UNICEF office in Kazak Listan accepted money from Philip Morris International to work on Child Labour Issues. In 2015, UNICEF published a report titled "Obligations and Actions on Children's Rights and Business, with Japan Tobacco International as contributor. The report does not mention tobacco. After the tobacco companies successfully infiltrated UNICEF, it muted the agency's efforts to protect children's right to a tobacco free life. In conclusion according to professor Stanton Glantz a professor of medicine and director of University of California, San Fanciso (UCSF) centre for Tobacco Control Research and Education, "It is time for UNICEF and all UN agencies to recognize that tobacco companies support UNICEF as part of political and public relations to protect its markets. "It's time for UNICEF ... and all UN AGENICES ... to adopt and enforce strict measures of not accepting funding or partnership with tobacco.

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