The Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control

So many deaths, so little money

Tobacco use kills six million people each year. Sadly, resources spent on tobacco control are in no way commensurate with the death and disability caused by this product.

Since negotiations on the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) started in 1999, funding for global health has climbed from US$9.9 billion to $28.1 billion in 2012 (measured in 2010 US dollars). Virtually none of this money has gone to tobacco control: countries spend from $0.001 to $1.00 per person annually on FCTC implementation, and the annual budget of the FCTC Secretariat is less than $10 million.

There is no doubt that tobacco control is underfunded. The question is: why is this so and how can FCTC Parties change it? There has never been a better time to explore why insufficient resources are devoted to tobacco control, and to propose ways to mobilize funding for FCTC implementation at the country level.

Later in October, the Working Group on Sustainable Measures to Strengthen Implementation of the WHO FCTC will meet to address a number of issues. In essence it will focus on three areas:

  • Mobilisation of resources;
  • Multi-sectoral coordination;
  • International cooperation.

The working group was established at COP5 and its first meeting was supported by extra-budgetary contributions from the Government of Australia.

FCA is preparing a number of documents that will discuss each of the key topics of the working group's mandate.

It will be important that the working group identifies practical and feasible strategies to mobilize substantial global support for tobacco control. To do so, the group should look in detail at existing obstacles and identify specific strategies to overcome them.

One explanation for why tobacco control is marginalized by the international community might be that tobacco use was not included in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and as a result, tobacco control is not on the radar of international donors. If the working group agrees that the FCTC needs to be promoted within discussions on sustainable development, the group may identify key events at which to highlight the contributions of tobacco control to international development.

For more information, contact tousy(at)

Read also:

Tobacco control rising: 2013 WHO report

Share This