Smoking was officially banned July 1 in Dutch bars and cafes. Since then, smokers have started flocking to a new religious movement in the Netherlands known as the "The Only and Universal Smokers Church of God," or the "Smokers Church." Michiel Eijsbouts, who founded the church in 2001, insists that the new smoking law does not apply to members of the Smokers Church.
A recent investigation by BBC Television showed British American Tobacco (BAT) violating its own voluntary marketing and advertising codes in Malawi, Mauritius and Nigeria. Contrary to BAT's public pronouncements that it doesn't want children to smoke, the company was caught using marketing tactics in these countries that are known to appeal to young people, like advertising and selling single cigarettes, and sponsoring non-age-restricted, product branded musical entertainment.
As trading has become more global and corporations have become more multinational, countries started discovering that they have little recourse to rein in the harmful behavior of corporations. As public clamor to regulate multinationals has grown, companies have increasingly responded by adopting "voluntary codes of conduct." But what are the real purposes for these codes? Are they just window dressing, or worse?
The American Association of Public Health Physicians (AAPHP) has published an updated analysis of H.R. 1108, the massive bill currently under consideration by Congress that would give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco products. AAPHP concludes, "This bill is a scam.