U.S. Chamber of Commerce Undeserving of “Cancer Gold Standard” Because of Its Global Lobbying for Big Tobacco
It is incomprehensible that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been recognized by the CEO Roundtable on Cancer for its efforts against cancer when the Chamber has helped the tobacco industry fight life-saving and cancer-preventing tobacco control policies around the world, as recently revealed by a multi-part investigation by The New York Times. Far from helping to reduce cancer, the Chamber’s pro-tobacco activities are undermining global efforts to fight cancer.
Because of its pro-tobacco activities, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is undeserving of the “CEO Cancer Gold Standard” it was recently awarded by the CEO Roundtable on Cancer, a nonprofit organization of CEOs. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids calls on the CEO Roundtable on Cancer to rescind this recognition until the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ceases all activities on behalf of the tobacco industry and against tobacco control policies. We urge the CEO Roundtable on Cancer to realize that there is a fundamental conflict between its worthy mission of combatting cancer and the Chamber’s activities on behalf of the tobacco industry.
Tobacco use is a leading cause of cancer in the United States and worldwide. It causes one-third of all cancer deaths in the U.S. and more than 20 percent of all cancer deaths worldwide (according to the U.S. Surgeon General and The 2015 Tobacco Atlas). So preventing and reducing tobacco use is critical to fighting cancer.
However, rather than supporting efforts to reduce tobacco use, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has done the opposite. As documented in both The New York Times investigation and a recent report by public health organizations, the Chamber has systematically worked on behalf of the tobacco industry to fight tobacco control policies in more than a dozen countries. The Chamber has lobbied governments against smoke-free laws, increased tobacco taxes and warning labels on tobacco products – measures proven to reduce the horrific burden of tobacco-related disease, including cancer.
These revelations about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce prompted CVS Health to resign from the Chamber, as the company announced that tobacco use posed a direct conflict to its mission of helping people on a path to better health.
As long as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce continues to help the tobacco industry fight tobacco control policies, it cannot be viewed as legitimately committed to the fight against cancer.