In 2021, we again moved closer to our vision of a tobacco-free world. It was an exciting year in which we intervened and contributed in various areas: women’s rights, children’s rights, the German Supply Chain Act, the influence of the tobacco lobby or the urgently needed strategy for a tobacco-free Germany. We successfully contributed with our expertise.

For 2021, Unfairtobacco focused much of its work on the nexus of tobacco control, sustainable development and women’s rights.

Publications & Events on Women’s Rights

In March, we released the video Impact of Tobacco Production on Women’s Rights featuring women tobacco farmers in Zambia speaking out about the abuses and risks of tobacco farming.

To mark World No Tobacco Day in May, we published our new factsheet Women have a right to a tobacco-free world which shows how women and girls are particularly affected by the consequences of tobacco production and consumption and how women’s rights, sustainable development and tobacco control are interrelated. We complemented the publication with the online seminar Women and Tobacco – No Alliance for the Future (German only) in which experts took a closer look at women and smoking in Germany and women and tobacco cultivation in Bangladesh.

In December, we presented our in depth brochure Women’s Rights and Tobacco Control on the occasion of the 19th German Conference on Tobacco Control. There we offered a plenary session shedding light on some of the brochure’s chapters. The English translation of the brochure is now underway.

Tobacco Control in Germany and worldwide

Throughout the year, we continuously coordinated the German Network on Children’s Rights and Tobacco Control and additionally included women’s rights.

In February, we continued our work on children’s rights. We participated in the civil society hearing of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on the situation of children’s rights in Germany. We submitted to the Committee an additional statement with our central demands to the German Government.

In March, the German cabinet passed the draft for a supply chain law. We analysed the draft bill and asked how it would improve the current situation of child labor and environmental damage in tobacco farming. Throughout the year, we supported the Supply Chain Act Initiative on our social media channels.

As one one of more than 50 health and civil society organizations we addressed politicians with an appeal and a strategy paper on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day in May. The Strategy for a tobacco-free Germany 2040 presents 10 distinct tobacco control measures for Germany and a timeline for implementation. In September, we held a matching online seminar in which we presented the Strategy for a tobacco-free Germany 2040 in more detail and also highlighted measures on a global level.

In June, we marked World Day Against Child Labor and renewed our call on German policymakers to protect children’s rights at the beginning of the tobacco supply chain. We also appealed to the German government to promote alternatives to tobacco cultivation in particular.

In September, the Tobacco Lobby Index for Germany was published with Unfairtobacco as one of 13 signatories. Once again, the index revealed that the tobacco industry can exert great influence on politics and that the German government only takes insufficient measures against it. The Index calls for more transparency and the restriction of interactions between political decision makers and the tobacco industry.

In November, we were part of the German civil society in the Framework Convention Alliance’s delegation to the 9th Conference of the Parties (COP9) to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco. We participated in the virtual conference, followed the negociations and supported civil society positions on improved tobacco control.

Educating youth and public on the worldwide impact of tobacco

Despite difficulties due to the Corona pandemic, our education team continued to visit Berlin schools and other venues. Addressing different school grades, we showed the complexity of the global tobacco trade, its supply chain and the environmental impact of the tobacco industry. We completely revised our simulation game and adapted it to virtual education models.

We also had the honor to represent the students of Albert Gutzmann School in Berlin at the award ceremony for their Fairtrade Class 2019/20 Award which took place during the UNESCO World Congress in May. They received the award for their work on tobacco and children’s rights and their report We want tobacco to stop being sold to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2020.

In autumn, we explained on different public occasions like festivals how tobacco harms the environment. Many people in Germany associate environmental damage caused by tobacco exclusively with cigarette butts. They were shocked to learn that this is only a very very small part of the problem. They learned with our games and posters that the worst effects of tobacco occur in countries of the Global South during tobacco cultivation and curing.

Thank you for your support throughout the year!

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Thank you very much for your support in 2021! Let us continue together on our path to a tobacco-free world!