2010 Tobacco Watch report: Monitoring Countries’ Performance on the Global Treaty

This report covers three substantive Articles of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and reflects five years of progress – or lack of progress for some countries – for the first countries to become Parties.

Because these Parties have also reached their deadline to enact a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, special attention has been given to that topic.

The FCA looked at the first 49 countries to ratify the FCTC whose phase two reports were due to the Convention Secretariat by 31 March 2010.

Tobacco Watch shadows the treaty’s official reporting structure where governments periodically report to the WHO on their implementation of FCTC measures. Information from Tobacco Watch is used to applaud successes, highlight failures, and press for stronger tobacco control measures in all countries.

Report findings

Failures to report

An unexpected finding in the report, which is causing particular concern among tobacco control advocates, is that of the 49 Parties targeted for the report – representing the first countries to ratify the FCTC – only seven submitted their official implementation reports to the Treaty Secretariat on time (deadlines ranged from February 27 to March 31, 2010). By the time Tobacco Watch went to print at the end of September, 20 Parties had still failed to turn in reports.

Failures to meet 5 year deadline

Another important finding of the report is that many countries failed to meet the five-year deadline under the FCTC to institute bans on tobacco marketing. Less than two-thirds of the Parties reporting indicated that they had passed such a ban, and none had implemented all of the recommendations under the guidelines adopted by the Conference of the Parties.

Large pictorial warnings implemented

However, bright spots in the report include several countries requiring large, graphic warning labels on cigarette packages, in particular Uruguay, where warnings occupy 80% of the front and back of packages. Other countries which require that warnings cover an average of at least 50% of the front and back of cigarette packs include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Cook Islands, Ghana, Madagascar, Mauritius, New Zealand, Panama, Singapore, Thailand and Turkey.

Bans on smoking in public places

A number of countries also banned smoking in virtually all public indoor areas. These countries included New Zealand, Panama, Peru, Qatar, Solomon Islands, Syria, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Uruguay. Strong local or state bans are in place for the majority of the populations of Australia, Canada, Germany, Mexico and Vietnam.

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