The Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control

Take Action to follow up the NCD Summit

By FCA Director Laurent Huber

Exactly one month ago, an important milestone in the global acknowledgement and response to  non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including tobacco use as one of its key risk factors, was achieved by Member states adopting a Political Declaration at the UN High-level Meeting (HLM) on NCDs in New York.
 
While civil society around the world celebrated the outcome of the HLM, it is critical now to rigorously follow up with governments on their commitments made, particularly on tobacco control.

TC advocates in Bangladesh campaign for graphic warnings

Visitors look at graphic warnings for tobacco packages during the exhibition in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka. (c) Iqbal Masud.

Tobacco control advocates in Bangladesh recently organised a three-day campaign to advocate for graphic warnings on tobacco packages. The event culminated in pledges from government ministers to support proposed amendments to the current tobacco control law.

The campaign included an exhibition of warning labels from various countries, a press conference, a rally, and three seminars on various aspects of pack warnings. Each seminar was attended by a cabinet minister or state minister and members of Parliament.

The exhibition was inaugurated by the Industry Minister, who gave his complete support to the proposed amendments to the law. This was widely reported in the media.

Gulf nations agree graphic warnings for 2012

Member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have agreed to put graphic warnings on tobacco packages starting in August 2012.
 
The law to be enforced by the six-nation GCC (United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman) includes graphic warnings on boxes of tobacco used in hookah pipes and other smoking tools.

FCA member gets huge Canadian grant for tobacco control research

Professor Geoff Fong has received a C$7.4 million operating grant for the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (ITC Project). The ITC is an FCA member.

The five-year grant (2011-16) is the largest ever rewarded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). It builds on a $3.88 million grant awarded for the ITC in 2005.

The project studies the impact worldwide of tobacco control policies in the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), in order to provide evidence to policy makers.

Data from tobacco survey in Poland released

The first public use dataset of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) Poland, 2009-2010 has been released.

GATS is a component of the Global Tobacco Surveillance System (GTSS), of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It provides a global standard for systematically monitoring adult tobacco use, and tracks key tobacco control indicators.

Canada to boost package warnings – inside and out

One of the new warnings covering 75 per cent of the cigarette package. © Health Canada

The Canadian Government has approved new regulations that will increase the size of health warnings on packages of cigarettes and little cigars from 50 to 75 per cent of the back and front surfaces. 

All packages will also include full-colour, picture-based messages inside the package, making Canada the only country to require messages on the interior and exterior.

European Union provides €5.2 million for tobacco control

The European Commission (EC) made a significant contribution to global tobacco control Thursday, announcing a €5.2 million (US$7 million) grant to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

The money will be used mainly for needs assessments in low and middle-income countries "to help these countries to fully implement the FCTC and to better integrate tobacco control policies into their national health programmes and strategies", according to an EC news release.

Australian graphic warnings to lead the way

Smoking emphysemaOne of Australia’s new proposed graphic health warnings. © Australian governmentThe Australian Government is taking another huge step in cutting the country’s smoking rates by releasing its proposed new graphic health warnings for tobacco products.

The new warnings are scheduled to come into effect on 1 July 2012, when the county’s plain packaging requirements are set to come into effect.

On 17 September 2011, the Australian Government released a consultation paper on the proposed new health warnings.  

FCA backs Philippines against tobacco industry

FCA has congratulated the Government of the Philippines for its recent tobacco control (TC) initiatives and offered support in combating tobacco industry interference in those measures.

In its letter, FCA highlights the number of challenges the industry has launched against TC programmes, including a smoking ban in Metro Manila. “It is indeed most alarming how a number of pending cases utilise your own statute, Republic Act 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act, in restraining the execution of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which the Philippines ratified in 2005.”

NCD Summit: encouraging outcomes

By FCA Director Laurent Huber

I had the privilege of attending the UN Summit this week, where I listened to heads of state and high-level government representatives make statements recognising the need for action on NCDs and their risk factors – many of which specified tobacco and the FCTC.

Again and again we heard that NCDs are a development issue that needs a multi-sector, whole of government approach.