The U.S. Chamber of Cancer

Given what the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been doing overseas perhaps we should start calling it The U.S. Chamber of Cancer. The New York Times:

From Ukraine to Uruguay, Moldova to the Philippines, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its foreign affiliates have become the hammer for the tobacco industry, engaging in a worldwide effort to fight antismoking laws of all kinds, according to interviews with government ministers, lobbyists, lawmakers and public health groups in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the United States.

They’ve become the American bullies for tobacco companies everywhere. Look what they did in Nepal:

…the health ministry proposed a law last year to increase the size of graphic warning labels from covering three-fourths of a cigarette pack to 90 percent. Countries like Nepal that have ratified the W.H.O. treaty are supposed to take steps to make cigarette packs less appealing.

Not long afterward, one of Nepal’s top officials, Lilamani Poudel, said he received an email from a representative of the chamber’s local affiliate in the country, warning that the proposal “would negate foreign investment” and “invite instability.”

In January, the U.S. Chamber itself weighed in. In a letter to Nepal’s deputy prime minister, a senior vice president at the chamber, Tami Overby, wrote that she was “not aware of any science-based evidence” that larger warning labels “will have any discernible impact on reducing or discouraging tobacco use.”

Certainly Tami isn’t the least bit worried warning labels will have any effect on tobacco sales, she’s just raising a point regarding product aesthetics. Oh bullshit.

While Nepal eventually mandated the change in warning labels, cigarette companies filed for an extension and compliance has stalled.

Anti-smoking efforts here in the U.S. have had a dramatic effect, cutting the number of people who smoke from 42% in 1965 to 18% in 2012. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to stopping those same efforts everywhere abroad. It’s not a stretch to say that they’re killing people.

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