The Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control

Tobacco control two years after the UN's NCD Summit

tobacco control UNTwo years ago Thursday a United Nations conference declared the threat posed by non-communicable diseases (NCDs) "one of the major challenges for development in the 21st century".

"Prevention must be the cornerstone of the global response to non-communicable diseases", added the Political Declaration of the General Assembly meeting known as the NCD Summit.

At the Summit, UN member states recognised the importance of tobacco control in tackling the NCDs epidemic. (Tobacco use is the one risk factor common to the four main groups of NCDs – cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and respiratory diseases).

The Declaration:

  • Urged greater efforts from countries to implement the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control;
  • Called on countries that are not Parties to the FCTC to accede to the Convention;
  • Noted the importance of tobacco taxation as a strategy at the national level;
  • Recognised the irreconcilable differences between the tobacco industry and public health policy.

There have been some positive developments following the NCD Summit, says FCA Director Laurent Huber. "A target to reduce tobacco use was included in the omnibus resolution that was adopted by the World Health Assembly earlier this year. And NCDs are included in the discussions to date on the sustainable development goals that will replace the MDGs after 2015. As a result, there is a chance that tobacco indicators will be included in the post-2015 development agenda.

"However, lack of resources for implementing tobacco control at the national level – where lives will be saved – remains a massive challenge," added Laurent. "And the tobacco industry's growing use of global trade agreements to intimidate governments trying to protect the public health of their citizens is a reminder that we must remain vigilant to its mission to put profit before lives."

Next week the UN General Assembly will hold another special meeting, this one to examine the results of the Millennium Development Goals, which laid out the priorities for international development after year 2000, and to discuss the goals that will replace the MDGs.

FCA will be at the General Assembly to continue its advocacy to have tobacco control integrated into the global development agenda.

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