25 Feb 2005
On February 27 2005, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the World Health Organization’s (WHO) global treaty, will become international law. TEAN (The Environmental Action Network) applauds the 55 countries that have ratified this important treaty and thereby taken a major step forward in the worldwide battle against the death and disease caused by the tobacco epidemic, our planet’s second major cause of death. This groundbreaking, legally binding treaty provides tools for countries to enact comprehensive tobacco control legislation to take on the powerful tobacco industry, and its deceptions and slick marketing.
UGANDA – SLOWEST IN EAST AFRICA – MUST RATIFY URGENTLY
TEAN calls on the Ugandan Government to immediately ratify and implement the treaty thereby protecting our citizens and our country from the devastating health and economic impacts of tobacco. While Kenya ratified 9 months ago, and Tanzania has enabling legislation at an advanced stage, slow-coach Uganda’s Ministry of Health is still “consulting” other ministries.
HISTORIC MOMENT FOR PUBLIC HEALTH
The FCTC’s entry into force is historic global public health, requiring ratifying nations to adopt policies proven to reduce smoking and save lives such as: a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, and large, visually striking health warning labels that cover at least 30 percent of cigarette packs. Uganda’s weak, text-only warnings, cover around 4% of a pack!
The treaty also provides nations with a roadmap for carrying forward strong, science-based policies in other areas, including protection from secondhand smoke, increased tobacco taxation, and measures to fight cigarette smuggling.
TOBACCO AND DEATH
Globally, WHO estimates that around 5 million people die each year from tobacco use. If current trends continue, this figure will reach 10 million per year by 2030, with 70 percent of deaths in developing countries like Uganda. While the measures in the FCTC represent a minimum set of tobacco control policies, the treaty encourages countries to do more. Strong action will give them the opportunity to reduce human suffering caused by tobacco and decrease the huge costs of tobacco-related health care.