Article 5.3 finds its way into the new ethic guide of the French National Assembly
Monday, 05 September 2022
The Comité National Contre Le Tabagisme (CNCT), one of the Smoke Free Partnership (SFP) main partners, was instrumental in the incorporation of a mention of Article 5.3 in the ethics guide that was disseminated to all members of the French National Assembly.
SFP welcomes this important development for the protection from the tobacco industry’s political interference in French policies. This measure is a prerequisite for the correct implementation of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) and should serve as an example to all signatory countries.
Article 5.3 is one of the most important cross-cutting provisions of the WHO FCTC, to which the European Union and all its Member States are parties. It is accompanied by implementation guidelines. Article 5.3 and its related guidelines require Parties to protect their tobacco control and public health policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry.
In June 2022, ahead of the general elections in France, the CNCT worked with the Ethics Officer of the French Assembly on incorporating Article 5.3 of the WHO FCTC and guidelines in the Ethics guide. The guide was disseminated among the French MPs.
The ethics guide has the following recommendations in regards to dealing with the tobacco industry and its lobbyists:
- interact with representatives of the tobacco industry only when strictly necessary to ensure better regulation of the industry's activities;
- ensure absolute transparency of these interactions;
- declare to the compliance officer any gift, benefit or invitation to a sporting or cultural event from a tobacco industry representative, whatever the value.
Below is the extract of the ethics guide on Article 5.3 and the original recommendations in French can be accessed here (page 30).
“Particular attention needs to be paid to lobbying by the tobacco industry. France has ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, Article 5.3 of which requires extreme vigilance on the part of public decision-makers to ensure that public health policies in the area of tobacco control are not influenced by the interests of the tobacco industry.
The guidelines adopted for its application, all inspired by the cardinal principle of a "fundamental and irreconcilable conflict" between the interests of the industry and those of public health, lead to limiting relations between the tobacco lobby and political authorities to strictly necessary matters, undertaken in conditions of absolute transparency. Consequently, the compliance officer recommends that Members of the National Assembly:
- only interact with representatives of the tobacco industry when strictly necessary to ensure better regulation of the industry's activities;
- ensure that these interactions always take place in the context of public hearings and under no circumstances at an event organised at the initiative of a representative of an interest linked to the tobacco industry;
- to declare to the compliance officer any gift, benefit, or invitation to a sporting or cultural event from a tobacco industry representative, whatever the value, bearing in mind that the Public Health Code (Article L. 3512-7) requires representatives of this industry to declare to the Minister of Health any benefit of a value of more than €10 provided to a Member of the National Assembly.