An innovative approach to improving implementation of pack warnings
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Work for a Better Bangladesh (WBB) Trust, Communication - Tobacco Control, Bangladesh
Work for a Better Bangladesh (WBB) Trust, Health Rights and Tobacco Control, Bangladesh
Bangladesh Anti Tobacco Alliance (BATA), Communication and Advocacy - Tobacco Control, Bangladesh
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A209
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Background and challenges to implementation:
In Bangladesh by law there are pictorial warnings on cigarette packs. The system is that all packs display the same warning for six months, then shift to another warning. This system makes it difficult to know if companies are complying with the law.

Intervention or response:
We decided to try demanding that, in accordance with various laws, tobacco companies display the production and expiry dates on all tobacco products. This would allow us to know which warnings the packs should display. The court case dragged on at length. Tobacco interference in legal cases was demonstrated when British American Tobacco was able to bring three barristers to the final hearing, whereas we were only allowed to bring one.

Results and lessons learnt:
Despite a number of favourable decisions and a final ruling that the companies must display these dates, in the end nothing has changed. Although ultimately the case did not achieve the desired result, it was instructive for us in a number of ways. Among others, we had clear evidence of the intervention of tobacco companies in legal cases.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
There is something seriously wrong when governments are not able to stand up to the tobacco industry. By definition, governments should have more power than corporations. They should be able to set the rules by which companies operate in their country. When this is not the case, democracy is not fully functional. This case gave us an opportunity to view the dysfunctional nature of the court systems in microcosm and reminded us of the importance of the WHO FCTC Article 5.3, so as to liberate governments from the influence of tobacco corporations.