Death clock to start COP-4

13 Nov 2010

 Read the full FCA press release below

 ‘Death Clock’ unveiling to kick off meeting on global tobacco control treaty

Agreement expected on tobacco flavourings, education, cessation, illicit trade

WASHINGTON, Nov. 11, 2010 – The unveiling of a „Death Clock‟ that keeps a rolling tally of the number of people worldwide dying of tobacco-related diseases will mark the start of the fourth Conference of the Parties (COP) to the global tobacco treaty, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

The biennial meeting will be held in Punta del Este, Uruguay, 15-20 November.

Speaking at the unveiling of the Death Clock, which is organised by the FCA, will be H E Mr T D Mseleku, the President of the COP Bureau, Dr Anne Marie Worning, Executive Director in the Office of WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, and the President of the International Union Against Cancer, Eduardo Cazap.

The FCTC, the first modern-day global public health treaty, has 172 Parties, making it one of the most successful United Nations treaties. Yet as the Parties begin arriving in Uruguay, the FCTC is facing attacks worldwide from the tobacco industry.

Earlier this year, Philip Morris International launched a challenge at the World Bank‟s International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes against Uruguay for tobacco control measures that put the South American nation at the forefront of implementing the FCTC. The strategy was to force the Uruguayan Government to buckle under the industry giant’s pressure and roll back measures, including mandatory warnings that cover 80% of the front and back surfaces of cigarette packs, the largest in the world.

“The Government of Uruguay is an example for both developing and developed countries in implementing tobacco measures,” said FCA Director Laurent Huber. “Overturning its measures would be a blow to all of the 172 Parties to the FCTC,” he added.

In recent months an organisation claiming to represent tobacco growers worldwide has been publicly lobbying against items on the COP agenda. The International Tobacco Growers Association (ITGA) is focusing on draft guidelines that recommend countries “restrict or prohibit” flavourings added to tobacco to make it more attractive, especially to young smokers and potential smokers.

The ITGA, which was created by the tobacco industry in the 1980s as a front group for

“Third World‟ activities, is shrouding its objections in the name of protecting tobacco growers in the developing world. “But it is a fact that the economies of countries dependent on tobacco for foreign exchange, such as Malawi and Zimbabwe, have remained poor and suffering economic woes. Tobacco farming does not alleviate poverty,” said Huber.

The FCA is calling on the COP to adopt the draft guidelines on tobacco flavourings without change in order to protect global public health. (For more information see the attached FCA briefings, Industry Behind Tobacco Growers’ Protests and Facts About Tobacco Flavourings).

The FCA‟s other priorities for the COP include: adoption of guidelines on education and public awareness and tobacco demand and cessation measures; the creation of a working group that would draft guidelines on tobacco taxes – tobacco taxes have proven to be the single most effective measure to reduce smoking prevalence – and a decision to continue work on a protocol on illicit trade in tobacco.

For further information contact FCA Communications Manager Marty Logan, in Punta del este: tel from abroad: + 598 99705263, within Uruguay – 099 705263, or


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