How tobacco industry interference hinders the UN sustainable development goals

September 2020

The tobacco industry’s business is incompatible with the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) because it adversely impacts development areas including poverty, hunger, education, gender equality, economic growth and inequality. Human rights assessments call for the cessation of the production and marketing of tobacco, as it is irreconcilable with the human right to health enshrined in the UN’s principles.

Even so, the tobacco industry is attempting to use the SDGs as part of a fraudulent marketing scheme to detract global attention from the fact that it has yet to be held accountable for harms caused. The tobacco industry is trying to use the SDGs to increase acceptance of its new addictive and dangerous products, attract more investors, influence policymakers to rule in favor of the tobacco industry’s commercial interests, access the UN and, effectively, undermine a key SDG target: implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which has provisions prohibiting so-called corporate social responsibility (CSR) from and partnerships with the tobacco industry.

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