03 Jul 2007
Bangkok – Nations attending a conference of the World Health Organization tobacco control treaty today unanimously recommended the adoption of guidelines that will help governments adopt stringent smokefree laws. It is expected that the full conference will quickly approve the guidelines, which are based on the principles that secondhand smoke kills, that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, and that all people – especially workers – deserve to be protected from secondhand smoke.
“For millions of lives to be saved governments must implement these guidelines immediately,” said Shoba John, chair of the Global Smokefree Partnership, and board member of the Framework Alliance on Tobacco Control. “We applaud the parties to the treaty for unanimously acknowledging that secondhand smoke kills and taking positive measures to address this threat to global health.”
The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is the world’s first modern-day treaty addressing a public health issue. When approved by the full conference in the next few days, these guidelines will provide a vital tool for governments and tobacco control advocates to formulate and implement smoking bans based on best available practice. In countries like Ireland – the first nation to adopt 100% smokefree laws – accumulated evidence shows that smoke free laws in indoor work areas, restaurants, bars, and public transit systems quickly improve the health of workers exposed to secondhand smoke, and help smokers quit.
“Uruguay was the first country in Latin America to go 100% smokefree,” said Eduardo Bianco Head of the Uruguay Delegation. “We are pleased that our efforts to help develop these guidelines will result in millions of lives saved around the world.”
“In Kenya, the tobacco industry has consistently interfered with legislation designed to protect our people and workers from secondhand smoke,” said Dr. A. E. Ogwell, Kenya’s chief delegate and Head of International Health Relations in Kenya’s health ministry. “Now that the parties to the tobacco control treaty have formally adopted these guidelines, they will prove to be an important tool in our fight to protect Kenyans from smoking
Secondhand smoke contains some 4,000 chemicals, at least 69 of which are known to cause cancer.
Secondhand smoke contains toxic gases and fine particles that damage the heart and lungs.
These guidelines will provide the first official guidance on how best to protect people from secondhand smoke. The guidelines provide unequivocal, evidence-based instructions that designated smoking areas or rooms, and ventilation systems designed to remove tobacco smoke – measures often adopted to make indoor smoking bans more politically acceptable – do not protect people from secondhand smoke.
For more information or to request interviews:
Mark Hurley, 66 85 358 6719 (in Bangkok) or 1 202 460 2679
Susan Cavanagh, 66 81 401 9054 (in Bangkok) or 61 416 361 759
Brian Bonner, 1 202 481 9380 (Washington, DC)
For more information:
Global Smokefree Partnership’s Global Voices Report: www.globalsmokefreepartnership.org
Download the media release Nations at International Tobacco Control Conference Seize Opportunity to Protect People from Secondhand Smoke and Save Lives
The Framework Convention Alliance is made up of almost 300 organizations representing over 100 countries
around the world. It was created to support the development, ratification, and implementation of the WHO FCTC.