SFP's submission to UNEP on the UN Global Plastics Treaty

Monday, 16 January 2023

The Smoke Free partnership (SFP) submitted input to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in preparation for the next Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-2) on a proposed UN international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment. All the points we share align with the Stop Tobacco Pollution Alliance (STPA) recommendations.

The UN Environmental Assembly adopted a Resolution in March 2022 to begin negotiating an international legally binding treaty to end plastic pollution with the aim of addressing the full lifecycle of plastic including production, design and disposal. The UN Plastics Treaty's first round of negotiations started on 28 November 2022 in Punta del Este in Uruguay with an aim to finalize the treaty by 2024 through several rounds of negotiations.

SFP makes the case for aligning the upcoming Global Plastics Treaty with the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), notably to remove conflicts of interest with the tobacco industry, and to ban unnecessary and toxic plastics in the form of cigarette filters.

SFP was actively engaged in the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive, and we have witnessed firsthand the impact of not aligning fully with the FCTC. We continuously work on ensuring the accountability of the tobacco industry at EU level and on preventing EU legislation from leading to greenwashing.

While this provides an opportunity to increase synergy between the WHO FCTC and an UN environmental treaty in order to address the environmental impact of tobacco, the tobacco industry is already engaging at both national and global level through processes intended to address plastic pollution and they use these platforms as greenwashing opportunities to deceive governments and citizens into believing that they are environmentally friendly corporations. It is critical that this upcoming treaty addresses cigarette filters and tobacco plastics. Cigarette filters are made of a type of plastic which is the most littered item on coastlines and the amount of new disposable plastic associated with new nicotine delivery devices is dramatically increasing worldwide. 

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