The Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control

Media Releases

COP-3 media briefing: packaging - amplifying warnings . . . blocking deception

Warnings on tobacco product packs have the power to increase awareness of the health effects of tobacco use and to reduce tobacco consumption.

The bigger the warnings, the better they work. And when pictures and words are used together, the warnings have greater impact.

Download media briefing in English [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 70.68 KB], French [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 73.24 KB], Spanish [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 72.66 KB], Russian [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 808.45 KB], Chinese [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 155.69 KB], Arabic [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 799.15 KB].

COP-3 media briefing: industry interference - guidelines must protect health policy from industry sabotage

Every tobacco-related death is potentially preventable. But governments can only begin to realize their potential to save lives if they develop and implement effective public health policy that embraces tobacco control wholeheartedly.

Download media briefing in English [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 68.67 KB], French [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 70.72 KB], Spanish [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 70.8 KB], Russian [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 732.54 KB], Arabic [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 800.64 KB], Chinese [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 133.81 KB]. 

Africa tobacco control activists gather forces for sustained battle

Durban ( SOUTH AFRICA)-- Tobacco control activists from 21 African countries are meeting in Durban to gear-up for sustained and coordinated action to halt the alarming increase in tobacco use across the continent.

Their two-day workshop takes place on the eve of the third conference of government delegates from 160 countries that have ratified the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). This major event kicks off in Durban, at the International Convention Centre, on Monday (17 November).

Nations meet to give strength to global treaty to combat illicit tobacco trade

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – On October 20, government representatives will meet to negotiate a protocol which recognizes the serious threat posed to public health by the illicit trade in tobacco products – primarily through the undermining of tax policy – and the cross-border nature of illicit trade, which means that no state can effectively address the problem on its own.

INB-2 Media briefing Technology and Illicit Trade

Illicit trade in tobacco products poses a pervasive and ever-changing global problem. The smuggling and counterfeiting of hundreds of billions of cigarettes each year seriously harms public health, erodes government treasuries, and threatens public safety and security by supporting organized crime and terrorist networks.

Download the full media briefing PDF English [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 81.69 KB, Spanish [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 370.87 KB], Chinese [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 324.96 KB], French [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 85.64 KB], Arabic [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 153.63 KB, Russian [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 763.4 KB].

Africa needs tougher tobacco regulations

African tobacco control advocates are calling for tough tobacco regulations as the tobacco epidemic sweeps rapidly through Africa.

The Way Forward

Resolution from the RegionalWorkshop on Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, New Delhi, India, 15-16September 2008

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
Sri Lanka National Federation on Smoking or Health
24 February 2005

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