The Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control

Media Releases

Illicit trade in tobacco causes loss of government revenue and increases health problems

Solution: control the tobacco supply chain

For many countries tobacco smuggling causes huge revenue losses and increased health problems but it can be tackled by controlling the supply chain, a new paper has found.

FCA coordinator receives Judy Wilkenfeld award

Judy WilkenfeldA Framework Convention Alliance regional coordinator has received an award for leadership in the fight against tobacco use in Latin America and globally. 

Laura Salgado, the Alliance’s first Latin American regional coordinator, received the first annual Judy Wilkenfeld Award for International Tobacco Control Excellence at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids annual awards gala in Washington DC.

New website brings FCA’s vision one step closer

The Framework Convention Alliance’s vision for a world free from death and disease caused by tobacco took one step closer to being realized today with the launch of the Alliance's new website.

The website consolidates all of the Alliance’s information that relates to the World Health Organization’s international treaty – the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). 

First Global Public Health Treaty to Take Effect

First Modern-day Global Public Health Treaty to Take Effect
Despite Years of Intense Industry Lobbying, Tobacco Treaty Becomes International Law Sunday, 27 February

Once Again Out of Step with International Community, US Has Not Ratified Landmark Agreement

GENEVA—Only 11 days after the Kyoto Protocol’s entry into force, the groundbreaking global tobacco treaty known as the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) will take effect on 27 February 2005. The treaty will change the way giant tobacco corporations operate around the world and set an international precedent for prioritizing public health over commercial interests. As the global community takes significant steps to protect people’s lives, public interest organizations are urging countries that have not yet ratified, including the US, to do so. To date, fifty-seven countries have ratified the global tobacco treaty. Many more ratifications are expected in coming months.

“This treaty will save millions of lives,” says Kathryn Mulvey, Executive Director of Corporate Accountability International (formerly Infact). “It demonstrates that working together, the nations of the world can protect people from irresponsible and dangerous corporate practices. Attempts by Philip Morris/Altria, British American Tobacco (BAT) and Japan Tobacco International (JTI) to prevent an effective treaty from entering into force have proved futile,” she adds.

While the Bush Administration signed the FCTC in May 2004, the US is notably absent from the list of countries that have ratified the treaty. Throughout the FCTC negotiating process, the US government consistently took positions that would dilute the treaty at the expense of people’s lives around the world. The US has a long history of signing but not ratifying international humanitarian agreements, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“February 2005 is a landmark month for international cooperation on critical issues of protecting people and our natural resources, and the US is missing the boat. As both the global tobacco treaty and the Kyoto Protocol take effect with the US on the sidelines, we are calling on our government to join with the global community in prioritizing people’s lives over the profits of giant corporations,” says Mulvey.

Throughout the negotiations, countries of Africa, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and the Pacific and Caribbean Islands united to make the treaty a reality. The FCTC, initiated by the World Health Organization, bans tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, and protects public health policy from tobacco industry interference. It also sets precedents for international regulation of other industries that threaten health, the environment and human rights.

“This is a historic moment in the movement challenging irresponsible and dangerous corporate actions around the world. Now that this global treaty has become international law, it is no longer business as usual for Big Tobacco. With millions of lives at stake, we urge countries that have not yet ratified to do so without delay, particularly those that took the lead during treaty negotiations,” says Akinbode Oluwafemi of Environmental Rights Action, Nigeria.

Throughout the treaty process, the Network for Accountability of Tobacco Transnationals (NATT) and other NGOs encouraged, prodded and pressured countries to stand firm in the face of Big Tobacco’s enormous political and economic clout. Relying on organizing techniques including International Weeks of Resistance to Tobacco Transnationals, Marlboro Man Awards, and the release of a number of reports, NATT has played a key role in exposing and challenging the attempts of giant tobacco corporations and their political allies in wealthy countries to derail the FCTC. As the treaty takes effect, NATT will continue to watchdog the tobacco industry’s interference and support countries in ratifying and implementing the treaty.

Tobacco corporations like Philip Morris/Altria, BAT and JTI continue to use dirty tricks to try to derail the treaty. The Consumer Information Network, a NATT member in Kenya, recently helped expose BAT’s sponsorship of a beach holiday for members of Parliament. BAT lobbied the parliamentarians to water down key provisions of the Tobacco Control Bill currently under consideration in Kenya, which has ratified the FCTC. Countries like Kenya and must be vigilant in protecting their health policies from tobacco industry interference, in accordance with the treaty’s obligations.

The 57 countries that have ratified the FCTC are: Armenia, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Cook Islands, Denmark, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Latvia, Lesotho, Lithuania, Madagascar, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Peru, Qatar, San Marino, Senegal, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sri Lanka, Syria, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Uruguay and Viet Nam.

 

Historic Tobacco Treaty Becomes International Law; U.S. Left on the Sidelines Because of Failure to

WASHINGTON, DC - The world will witness public health history on February 27 when the global tobacco control treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, becomes international law. The treaty represents the strongest, most coordinated action the world's nations have ever taken against tobacco use and its devastating health and economic consequences. Unfortunately, the United States is on the sidelines because the President has yet to submit the tobacco treaty to the Senate for ratification. We urge our government to join the growing number of countries that have ratified the treaty and support its effective implementation both here and abroad.

It is in both the United States' interest and the world's interest that our nation be a leader in this important initiative. It sends the wrong message to the rest of the world if the wealthiest and most powerful nation fails to lead in addressing a global epidemic that kills almost five million people every year. Unless effective action is taken, tobacco's toll will rise to 10 million deaths a year by 2030, with 70 percent of those deaths in developing nations. This is a global catastrophe that our own government simply cannot ignore.

The United States has always been the world's scientific leader in developing public health measures that reduce tobacco use. The tobacco treaty now enshrines as international law many of the solutions our own science has identified. It commits nations to ban all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (with an exception for nations with constitutional constraints); require large, graphic health warnings on cigarette packs; implement measures to protect non-smokers from secondhand smoke; increase the price of tobacco products; and regulate the content of tobacco products. Nonetheless, today the U.S. is no longer in the forefront. Renewed U.S. leadership is essential to advancing and implementing the science on how best to reduce tobacco use.

The U.S. also has a special obligation to provide global leadership in reducing tobacco use because we are home to Philip Morris, the world's largest multinational tobacco company and the leading exporter of the deadly products that are the cause of the tobacco epidemic. Too often in the past, our government has sided with the tobacco companies when they challenged other nation's tobacco ontrol measures as violations of trade agreements. Tobacco companies are making such threats again, presenting a significant challenge to effective implementation of the tobacco treaty. U.S. ratification of the treaty would send a strong message to the rest of the world that we will not support these efforts and instead put protection of public health ahead of tobacco industry interests.

Finally, unless the U.S. ratifies the treaty, it will not have a seat at the table in determining how it is implemented and enforced and in negotiating side agreements on issues such as cigarette smuggling that are of importance to the U.S. The U.S. should join the 57 countries that have already ratified the treaty and again become in global leader in reducing tobacco use and its devastating consequences.

 

The Sri Lanka National Federation on Smoking or Health Applaudes Sri Lanka for Ratifying Tobacco Treaty

On February 27, 2005 the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the international tobacco treaty negotiated under the auspices of the World Health Organisation, will become international law. The Sri Lanka National Federation on Smoking or Health applauds the first forty countries that ratified the Treaty and the 17 other countries that ratified since. The treaty is a major step forward in the global battle against death and disease caused by the tobacco epidemic, the second major cause of death in the world. It provides the basic tools for countries to enact comprehensive tobacco control legislation and take on the powerful tobacco industry.

The entry into force of the FCTC marks a historic moment for global public health. This groundbreaking, legally binding treaty provides countries basic tools to protect the health of their citizens from the tobacco industry’s deceptions and slick marketing. It requires ratifying nations to adopt policies proven to reduce smoking and save lives such as: a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, and large, graphic health warning labels that cover at least 30 percent of cigarette packs. The treaty also provides nations with a roadmap for enacting strong, science-based policies in other areas, including protection from second-hand smoke, increased tobacco taxation, and measures to combat cigarette smuggling.

The annual premature death toll because of tobacco smoking is around 22,000 in Sri Lanka. The productivity loss to the country far exceeds the income derived from tobacco. Many studies show that there is a net economic loss to the country. Hence we congratulate Sri Lanka for ratifying the treaty, the first in Asia, and look forward to working with the government to ensure that the treaty is fully implemented. Ratification and implementation of the treaty are critical to protecting our citizens and our country from the devastating health and economic impacts of tobacco.

Globally, The World Health Organisation estimates that approximately five million people die each year from tobacco use. If current trends continue, this figure will reach 10 million per year by 2030, with 70 percent of those deaths occurring in developing countries. While the measures in the FCTC represent a minimum set of tobacco control policies, the treaty explicitly encourages countries to go above and beyond these measures. Strong action on the part of countries will give them the opportunity to reduce the human suffering caused by tobacco and curb runaway costs of tobacco-related health care.

Olcott Gunasekera
President
Sri Lanka National Federation on Smoking or Health
24 February 2005

Global Tobacco Treaty Becomes Law - Cancer Society Urges Immediate Action

The global treaty on tobacco control, known as the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) will enter into force on Sunday 27th February 2005 becoming binding international law for countries, such as New Zealand, that are Parties to it. On this day New Zealand will become legally bound to implement the provisions in the Treaty.

Some of the key obligations under the treaty which New Zealand does not currently meet are:

  • the introduction of large (over 50%) health warnings with pictures; and
  • the banning of misleading descriptors such as ‘light’, ‘low tar’ and ‘mild’.

Whilst Parties have three years in which to implement these obligations, the Cancer Society does not see that this delay is necessary for countries such as New Zealand.

“The timeframe was meant to assist developing countries with limited resources to implement the obligations, there is no reason for New Zealand to take such a long time. Pictorial health warnings have already been adopted in countries as diverse as Canada, Brazil, Thailand and Singapore. New Zealand needs to reclaim its role as a global leader in tobacco control” said Belinda Hughes, Tobacco Control Advisor to the Cancer Society.”

The treaty also strongly advises countries to take actions including:

  • prohibiting duty free sales of tobacco products;
  • increasing taxation on tobacco products to reduce consumption; and
  • adopting measures to regulate the production and distribution of tobacco products such as licensing of tobacco retailers.

The Cancer Society strongly supports these measures which have already been successfully implemented overseas and urges the New Zealand government to implement them as soon as possible.

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact

Ms. Belinda Hughes
Tobacco Control Policy Advisor
(04) 494 7274 or 027 276 7922.

 

Entrée en vigueur de la Convention-cadre pour la lutte antitabac

OTTAWA, le 25 fév. /CNW Telbec/ - Le ministre de la Santé Ujjal Dosanjh a annoncé aujourd'hui l'entrée en vigueur de la Convention-cadre pour la lutte antitabac (CCLAT), le tout premier traité international de santé publique. Il a souligné que le Canada continuerait de jouer un rôle de chef de file dans sa mise en oeuvre.

"Je suis très fier de dire que les lois et les règlements solides du Canada sont reconnus et respectés partout dans le monde et qu'en fait, bon nombre d'articles de la Convention s'en inspirent, a déclaré le ministre Dosanjh. Nous perpétuerons cette tradition en poursuivant les efforts déployés aux quatre coins de la planète pour mettre en oeuvre et gérer la Convention."

La CCLAT, qui entre en vigueur le 27 février, vise à protéger les générations d'aujourd'hui et de demain contre les conséquences sanitaires, sociales, environnementales et économiques du tabagisme et de l'exposition à la fumée secondaire en renforçant les initiatives de lutte contre le tabagisme à l'échelle mondiale.

Le 26 novembre 2004, le Canada à ratifier la Convention. Pour qu'elle puisse entrer en vigueur, 40 pays devaient la ratifier, et le Canada est fier de compter parmi ces 40 pays.

La CCLAT rejoint et promet de faire progresser les efforts accomplis au pays dans le cadre de la Stratégie fédérale de lutte contre le tabagisme. La Stratégie combine des initiatives de lutte antitabac réparties en quatre volets : protection, prévention, abandon et réduction des méfaits. Des campagnes médiatiques viennent appuyer les objectifs de la Stratégie.

Le tabagisme est la principale cause mondiale de maladies évitables, d'incapacités et de décès prématurés. Chaque année, 4,9 millions d'habitants de la planète, dont 45 000 Canadiens, meurent d'une maladie attribuable au tabac.

Also available in English

Convention-cadre pour la lutte antitabac (CCLAT)

La Convention-cadre pour la lutte antitabac (CCLAT) est un traité international de santé publique sous l'égide de l'Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS). Son objectif est de protéger les générations actuelles et futures des conséquences sanitaires, sociales, environnementales et économiques du tabagisme et de l'exposition à la fumée secondaire grâce à des mesures collectives internationales de lutte antitabac.

L'Assemblée mondiale de la Santé a adopté la Convention le 21 mai 2003 et l'a ouverte aux signatures le 16 juin 2003. Le 15 juillet 2003, le Canada signait la Convention. Les Etats qui signent et ratifient la Convention devront instituer de vastes stratégies et programmes de lutte antitabac, y compris exécuter leurs engagements et obligations dans des domaines tels que la publicité, la commandite et la promotion du tabac, les mises en garde sur les emballages de produits du tabac, le commerce illicite, la réglementation des produits et les programmes de prévention et de renoncement.

Le Canada a ratifié la Convention le 26 novembre 2004. Quarante pays devaient ratifier la Convention afin qu'elle puisse entrer en vigueur, et le Canada est fier d'être parmi les 40 premiers à l'avoir fait. Les pays qui ont ratifié le traité, y compris le Canada, prendront part à la Conférence des parties, l'organisme qui gérera la CCLAT. La Convention entre en vigueur le 27 février 2005.

Points saillants de la CCLAT:

  • obligation d'afficher une mise en garde couvrant au moins 30 %, et idéalement 50 %, de la surface principale d'affichage de l'emballage du produit du tabac;
  • interdiction complète de la publicité, de la promotion et de la commandite;
  • protection contre l'exposition à la fumée secondaire dans les lieux de travail et les lieux publics intérieurs, les transports en commun et d'autres endroits publics au besoin;
  • admission que les mesures financières et fiscales sont un moyen efficace de réduire la consommation;
  • dispositions relatives à des programmes d'éducation, de sensibilisation, de sevrage et de traitement, et une série de mesures pour prévenir et combattre le commerce illicite du tabac.

Rôle du Canada

Le Canada est l'un des principaux partisans de la CCLAT. Il faisait partie des quelque 150 pays membres de l'OMS qui ont participé aux trois années de négociations de la Convention. Santé Canada et les Affaires étrangères dirigeaient la délégation canadienne qui était composée de représentants des ministères de la Justice, du Solliciteur général et des Finances, de la Gendarmerie royale du Canada, des gouvernements provinciaux et territoriaux et des organisations non gouvernementales.

Sur la scène internationale, le Canada continue de soutenir et d'appuyer les activités antitabac des pays en développement et le travail des organisations internationales, notamment l'OMS et l'Organisation panaméricaine de la Santé.

Hyperliens utiles

Etat de la Convention-cadre de l'OMS pour la lutte antitabac

Renseignements sur la CCLAT (en anglais seulement)

Vous voulez plus de renseignements? Consultez le site Web de la lutte contre le tabagisme de Santé Canada

Renseignements:

aux médias: Paul Duchesne, Santé Canada, (613) 954-4807;
Adèle Blanchard, Cabinet du ministre de la Santé, (613) 957-0200;

La Convention Cadre pour la Lutte Antitabac de l’OMS, le premier traité international de santé au monde, entre en vigueur le 27 février 2005.

L’Alliance Contre le Tabac félicite la France d’avoir ratifié ce traité pour lutter contre la première cause de mortalité évitable : le tabac 
 
Le traité, signé par 168 pays, devient applicable le 27 février aux 2,3 milliards d’habitants des 57 pays qui l’ont ratifié, dont la France. La CCLAT représente un outil nécessaire pour la mise en œuvre d’une législation efficace pour le contrôle du tabac et pour atténuer les méfaits d’une puissante industrie du tabac à l’origine de la pire épidémie de l’histoire de l’humanité : 5 millions de décès chaque année dans le monde dont 66000 fumeurs français auxquels il faut ajouter 3000 non-fumeurs victimes de tabagisme passif.

Ce traité comprend de nombreuses mesures dont l’interdiction totale de toute forme de publicité directe et indirecte pour le tabac et les avertissements sanitaires recouvrant au moins 30% des surfaces principales des paquets de cigarettes, mesures déjà en place en France et qui trouvent ici la confirmation internationale de leur utilité. Ce traité fournit aussi aux pays des indications claires concernant la taxation, la réglementation des produits du tabac et les mesures pour combattre la contrebande de cigarettes. Il comporte l’obligation de protéger les non-fumeurs et la situation française est en ce domaine des plus mauvaises malgré la loi Evin publiée il y a 14 ans, non seulement mal appliquée mais aujourd’hui dépassée.

En tant que citoyens français, nous sommes heureux et fiers que notre pays ait été le premier dans l’Union européenne, à ratifier ce traité important, le premier concernant la santé publique. Nous sommes prêts à travailler avec notre gouvernement pour l’appliquer pleinement.

La CCLAT devenant une loi internationale est un événement historique. Ce traité s’impose légalement et crée un précédent mondial pour une coopération dans le domaine de la santé en général et contre le tabac en particulier.

Une politique de lutte contre le tabac fondée sur la dynamique du Plan cancer et des recommandations internationales accompagnées de mesures réglementaires et fiscales a permis d’obtenir des résultats très encourageants depuis 2003. Le pourcentage de fumeurs a chuté de 34,5%[2] en 1999 à 27,8%[3] en octobre 2004 chez les 15 ans et plus. Une baisse de 25% du volume de ventes de cigarettes est encore observée sur les 9 premiers mois de l’année 2004. Il faut cependant rester vigilant car l’évolution du tabagisme chez les femmes et chez les jeunes fait craindre en France une catastrophe sanitaire en terme de mortalité par cancer du poumon.

La France doit donc renforcer les mesures de contrôle du tabac, reprendre une pression sur les prix du tabac et surtout protéger complètement les non-fumeurs de la fumée des autres.

Nous félicitons les gouvernements - dont celui de la France - qui ont ratifié la CCLAT, démontrant ainsi leur engagement envers la santépublique.

Alliance Française Contre le Tabac

Pr Gérard Dubois
Président

Pr Bertrand Dautzenberg
Vice-président

Pr Albert Hirsch
Vice-président

M. Gérard Audureau
Secrétaire Général

Contacts :
Pr Gérard Dubois,
Président de l’Alliance contre le tabac
Mobile : 06 86 46 93 79

Yana Dimitrova
Coordonnatrice
Tél. : 01 43 37 91 51

[1] L’Alliance contre le tabac réunit plus de trente associations concernées par la lutte contre le tabac.

[2] Baromètre Santé 2000 – INPES

[3] Sondage Alliance Contre le Tabac- TNS Sofres, octobre 2004

 

Formula One "Blackmailers" threaten global tobacco treaty

As teams prepare for the Italian Grand prix at Monza this weekend, new evidence has emerged to show that Formula One is still trying to press Governments around the world to allow tobacco sponsorship of motor racing to continue. Formula One is the world's biggest sporting receiver of tobacco money and has fought hard to undermine the global treaty on tobacco control [1], which requires countries to act to ban tobacco advertising and sponsorship.

Signing of convention highlights Australias global leadership in tobacco control

Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Trish Worth, today confirmed that the Australian Government intends to sign the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control as soon as possible.

The Convention was unanimously agreed by the World Health Assembly in May 2003, but it is up to individual countries to decide on their response. Ms Worth said the way is now clear for Australia to join the 47 countries that have already signed the historic Convention. Australia could sign as early as October.

"The Convention is an historic milestone because it is the first time all the world's nations have got together to develop an agreement on such a pressing public health issue," Ms Worth said.

"Australia was a major player in the negotiations and we worked hard to achieve a robust Convention that will lead to good tobacco policies across the globe.

"It is very encouraging that Australia will now be able to join those countries that have already signed."

Ms Worth said Australia already has comprehensive health policies on tobacco, including bans on advertising and requirements for health warnings on tobacco products. The Government is making excellent progress in reviewing these policies to ensure that they are up to date and help protect young Australians in particular from the dangers of smoking.

The World Health Organization estimates that, if left unchecked, tobacco will kill 10 million people worldwide by 2030 and sees the Convention as a major weapon in its counterattack.

"Australia is a world leader in tobacco control but no one can afford to be complacent. The Convention will encourage other countries to develop the kinds of policies that have worked well for us here," Ms Worth said.

"At the same time we know that 3.6 million Australians still smoke and we need to keep working on ways to get that number down and make sure our young people don't start."

Media contact: Mark Williams, Ms Worth's Office - 0401 147 558

 

Operationalize the FCTC nationally - FCA statement

Statement of Mary Assunta, Chair, Framework Convention Alliance

Civil society has fought hard and long for this historic day when the WHO FCTC becomes international law. The Framework Convention Alliance is pleased that the countdown to implement stringent tobacco control measures outlined in the treaty is on.

The FCA celebrates this entry into force with the governments who have ratified the treaty and have prevailed against the lobby from the tobacco industry, particularly the transnational tobacco companies, who sought to derail it.

The biggest beneficiaries of the FCTC are the many low income and developing countries from the Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Latin America who form the bulk of the 57 nations who ratified the treaty. They seized the opportunity to ratify early and are now positioned to address the tobacco pandemic confronting them.

The FCA urges governments who have signed but not ratified the treaty to do so urgently so that they are not left behind. The days of talking are over. It is time for action and to apply political will to operationalize the treaty nationally.

This international law is a powerful tool to dismiss dubious self-regulation and guidelines of the transnational tobacco companies which for many years served to facilitate double standards in many countries. However the FCA warns governments that the devil is in the details.

Governments should elect to see this international law as the minimum standards. This means pass legislations comprehensively banning all forms of advertising and sponsorship activities by tobacco companies, applying graphic and specific health warnings on 50% of packs and banning smoking in all public and work places. This has to be done without delay the passing of legislation and without any compromise with the tobacco industry.

A new sense of vigilance is required as the tobacco industry has been reinventing itself through corporate social responsibility, making donations to the Tsunami disaster, converting its mass advertising to interpersonal communications and communicating via new electronic technologies.

The FCA is ready to assist governments and provide information on the treaty. For further information contact the FCA at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone + 1 202 352 32 84 + 1 202 659 43 10

 

International Coalition of NGOs Applauds the 57 Countries that have Ratified the WHO FCTC

Global Tobacco Treaty to Take Effect on February 27th

International Coalition of NGOs Applauds the 57 Countries that have Ratified the WHO FCTC

On February 27, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the international tobacco treaty negotiated under the auspices of the World Health Organization, will become international law. The FCA applauds the more than 55 countries that have taken a major step forward against the tobacco epidemic, the second major cause of death in the world by ratifying this important treaty. “The treaty is a major step forward in the worldwide battle against the death and disease caused by tobacco. It provides the basic tools for countries to enact comprehensive tobacco control legislation and take on the powerful tobacco industry,” said Mary Asunta, Chair of the FCA.

The FCA urges countries that have not ratified the treaty to do so as soon as possible. Ratification and implementation of the treaty are critical to protecting citizens of the world from the devastating health and economic impacts of tobacco.

The entry into force of the FCTC marks a historic moment for global public health. This groundbreaking, legally binding treaty provides countries basic tools to protect the health of their citizens from the tobacco industry’s deceptions and slick marketing. It requires ratifying nations to adopt policies proven to reduce smoking and save lives such as a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, and large, graphic health warning labels that cover at least 30 percent of cigarette packs. The treaty also provides nations with a roadmap for enacting strong, science-based policies in other areas, including protection from secondhand smoke, increased tobacco taxation and measures to combat cigarette smuggling.

This first international public health treaty would not have been achievable without the involvement of civil society. The FCA, an international coalition of Non Governmental organizations in favor a strong and efficient FCTC, is proud of the work done by its more than 200 organizations from around the world in support of this important international health treaty. For a list of members visit the FCA website http://www.fctc.org/ .

According to the World Health Organization, tobacco-related illnesses kill an estimated 4.9 million people per year worldwide. Unless trends are reversed, the worldwide toll is expected to double in a generation, with 70 percent of those deaths occurring in developing countries.

Once the FCTC comes into force, parties will meet periodically to monitor enforcement, exchange experiences and ideas, and negotiate protocols. Likely protocols include smuggling and cross-border advertising.

While the measures in the FCTC represent a minimum set of tobacco control policies, the treaty explicitly encourages countries to go above and beyond these measures. Strong action on the part of countries will give them the opportunity to reduce the human suffering caused by tobacco and curb runaway costs of tobacco-related health care.

Now that the FCTC will enter into force, it is crucial that governments maintain the momentum and implement efficient and life saving tobacco control legislation. Weak interpretation and poor implementation of the FCTC’s provisions will not promote public health or save lives. Countries should aim for tight, maximum protection for the public rather than settle for the bare minimum.

 

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