Art 5.3 Guidelines: Guiding Principles

Guidelines for implementation of Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

Protection of public health policies with respect to tobacco control from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry

[Text in italics and within brackets are provided as commentary by the Toolkit authors in order to provide further clarification and assist Parties and advocates.]



Principle 1: There is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry’s interests and public health policy interests.

The tobacco industry produces and promotes a product that has been proven scientifically to be addictive, to cause disease and death and to give rise to a variety of social ills, including increased poverty. Therefore, Parties should protect the formulation and implementation of public health policies for tobacco control from the tobacco industry to the greatest extent possible.

[This conflict of interest principle reflects the unanimous recognition by different countries of the fact that the business of the tobacco industry contributes greatly to diseases, death, and other social ills, including increasing poverty. Because of this conflict of interest, governments must protect the setting and implementation of public health policies from any interference by the tobacco industry to the greatest extent possible. The words “fundamental and irreconcilable” emphasize that this is one principle that leaves no room for compromise, not even when the tobacco industry happens to be State-owned.]


Principle 2: Parties, when dealing with the tobacco industry or those working to further its interests, should be accountable and transparent.

Parties should ensure that any interaction with the tobacco industry on matters related to tobacco control or public health is accountable and transparent.

[This principle underscores the need for transparency and accountability measures to govern how governments and their agencies, personnel, and agents interact with the tobacco industry. Any interactions by any government branch (executive, legislative, judiciary) responsible for setting and implementing tobacco control policies should be accountable and transparent.]


Principle 3: Parties should require the tobacco industry and those working to further its interests to operate and act in a manner that is accountable and transparent.

The tobacco industry should be required to provide Parties with information for effective implementation of these guidelines.

[In order to effectively implement WHO FCTC Article 5.3, governments must require the tobacco industry to submit specific information that will eliminate industry activities to undermine tobacco control and that will assist in the setting and implementation of effective tobacco control measures. In addition, the tobacco industry must be made accountable for its actions and for the accuracy and completeness of the information it provides.]


Principle 4: Because their products are lethal, the tobacco industry should not be granted incentives to establish or run their businesses.

Any preferential treatment of the tobacco industry would be in conflict with tobacco control policy.

[Governments providing preferential treatment or incentives to the tobacco industry would invariably be protecting and promoting interests that are diametrically opposed to those of public health.]