The Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control

Dutch court first to find that global tobacco treaty can trump national law

By the International Legal Consortium, CTFK

Hotels, restaurants and cafes had been smoke-free in The Netherlands since July 2008. In July 2011, a new decree came into force that exempted small cafes with an area of less than 70 square metres from the smoke-free provision. CAN, a public health NGO, sued the government, claiming the exemption violated Art 8(2) of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

The suit also claimed the exemption violated Recommendations of the Council of the European Union, and principles of anti-discrimination, equal treatment, prohibition of arbitrariness and legal certainty. The lower court found CAN's arguments groundless and dismissed the case. But on 26 March, the Court of Appeals of The Hague overturned the lower court's judgment, invalidated the exemption, and ordered the government to enforce the law in full.

We'd like to share some reflections on the importance of this case.

Vote now for global recognition of tobacco control via MDGs campaign

MDGs-1000-days badgeThe current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will expire in two years, and world leaders and governments are already discussing the next set of global priorities. This is a unique opportunity to get FCTC implementation included in the top rank of global development priorities!

Here's how you can help:

  • Go to
  • Choose 6 priorities from the list (your own priorities)
  • MOST IMPORTANT: write in your own priority under "Suggest a priority".

Write in the words: A tobacco-free world

Dutch court's recognition of FCTC smoke-free measure encouraging

WNTD2012 Netherlands MPs Petition STIVORO WEBSTIVORO delivers a petition to Dutch MPs on World No Tobacco Day 2012. (c) STIVOROBy Dr Dewi Segaar
Director, STIVORO

On 26 March, the Dutch appeals court ruled that small cafes with no employees cannot be exempt from a ban on smoking. Based on Article 8 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and its guidelines, the decision marks a very welcome turn for tobacco control in the Netherlands, after some tough years that led to an increase in smoking prevalence in 2012.

Tell WHO: Strengthen tobacco control in NCD Global Action Plan: 2013-2020

NCDalliance report coverThe World Health Organization (WHO) will conclude consultations on the draft NCD Action Plan this week (29 March).

The Plan will guide global and national response to the epidemic of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) – one of whose main risk factors is tobacco use – over the next eight years.

It is important that the WHO document contains strong references to the FCTC, and the latest draft is a marked improvement on the original in that regard. Still, we have some work to do.

Tobacco use driving NCDs in Africa

men smoking200pxTobacco use is helping drive NCDs in Africa (c) ZACATobacco use is a main factor driving non-communicable diseases (NCDs), particularly in Africa, according to outcomes from a multi-stakeholder dialogue hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The tobacco industry’s negative influence on policy making, and weak implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control were cited as some of the main challenges to stemming tobacco consumption.

FCA trains African NGOs in shadow reporting

POS Dakar 080313Tobacco advertising at point-of-sale in Dakar. (c) FCA, Tih Ntiabang"Civil society's shadow reports have an unequivocal value in holding governments accountable to their FCTC obligations," said Dr. Souley Ly, President of Afrique Contre le Tabac (ACONTA), a tobacco control non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Burkina Faso.

Dr Souley represented his country at the shadow report training that took place 7-8 March 2013 in Dakar, Senegal. The training was organised and run by the Framework Convention Alliance (FCA) in collaboration with la League Senegalaise Contre le Tabac (LISTAB) and with financial support from the Africa Tobacco Control Consortium (ATCC).

Industry-INTERPOL deal signals challenges to illicit trade protocol

A recent agreement between tobacco industry giants and the world’s largest police organisation, INTERPOL, illustrates Big Tobacco’s zeal to manipulate the recently adopted protocol on illicit tobacco products.

In November 2012, Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) adopted the protocol in order to combat the illegal trade in tobacco. At the heart of the ITP is a ‘tracking and tracing’ system for monitoring tobacco products from production to sales.

FCA congratulates Thailand for world's largest graphic health warnings

Thai warnings GovtThailandThe Framework Convention Alliance has congratulated the Government of Thailand for creating the world's largest graphic health warnings on cigarette packages.

The warnings will cover 85 percent of the front and back of packages when they come into effect six months after being printed in the Government's gazette (roughly in October).

"I would like to sincerely congratulate Your Excellency for your firm commitment to strengthen health warnings on cigarette packages in Thailand. The new graphic health warnings will lead the world and further protect public health," wrote FCA Director Laurent Huber to Thai Minister of Health H.E. Dr. Pradith Sinthawanarong.

Global Action Plan on NCDs must recognise the FCTC

The Framework Convention Alliance is calling on WHO and Member States to explicitly recognise the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in the global action plan for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), 2013-2020.

FCA is currently attending the third round of informal consultations in Geneva on the revised draft action plan, which will replace the 2008-2013 plan.

No free trade for cigarettes

Health advocates in Southeast Asia are hoping negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) will acknowledge tobacco products as harmful and the cause of disease and death.

There are 125 million smokers in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region and tobacco related deaths are the top killer. Sadly, these deaths are preventable. Of the 11 countries negotiating this new free trade agreement, during March 4-13, four are from the ASEAN region – Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Read the full South East Asia Tobacco Control Alliance press release.