Brazilian Anti-Smoking Activists Play Hardball with Congressmen

Representatives of Brazil’s medical associations and non-governmental organizations, as well as victims of tobacco-related diseases and their relatives, will deliver manifestos and signed petitions today to the president of the Senate, Renan Calheiros, urging the legislature to approve the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Tobacco Control Framework Convention.

The Dando o Nome aos Bois (Calling a Spade a Spade) campaign will be launched at the same time. The intention of the campaign is to denounce publicly, throughout the country, by means of billboards, pamphlets, folders, and the sites of medical associations and non-governmental organizations, the senators and deputies who are opposed to the framework convention.

The anti-smoking militants will disseminate the list of names of lawmakers who vote against the control and prevention of smoking. "If the convention is not approved, we shall denounce the senators, especially in their electoral bases, so that they will pay in the next elections for the harm they are doing to their states and to Brazil," affirms Nise Yamaguchi, president of the São Paulo Clinical Oncology Society.

Brazil has only 40 days to approve the international treaty, which sets more rigid standards for the control and prevention of smoking. The convention must be ratified by November 7, 2005, in order for the country to be able to participate in the I Conference of the Parties, which will determine, among other things, the subsidies and incentives that will be provided to tobacco growers to convert to other crops.

The process for ratification of the treaty has been stalled in the Senate for over a year. It is currently in the hands of the Agriculture and Agrarian Reform Commission, in the form of a legislative decree bill, and is awaiting the opinion of the commission’s reporter for the bill, Héráclito Fortes from the PFL party of Piauí­ state.

Agência Brasil

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