[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
AFRO-NETS> WHO: Tobacco control
- Subject: AFRO-NETS> WHO: Tobacco control
- From: Dieter Neuvians MD <email@example.com>
- Date: Sun, 7 Mar 1999 12:43:39 -0500 (EST)
WHO: Tobacco control
Press Release WHO/15 3 March 1999
WHO SAYS GLOBAL TOBACCO CONTROL IS ABOUT SAVING LIVES, NOT PROFIT
LINES, AND INVITES TOBACCO FARMERS WORLDWIDE TO BACK ITS EFFORTS
Tobacco is a killer and tobacco growers must separate their concern for
their own livelihood from the public health impact of tobacco which
kills 4 million people today and could kill up to 10 million annually
by the late 2020s, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today.
The agency called on tobacco growers to back WHO's efforts to give the
world its first public health treaty - the Framework Convention on To-
bacco Control (FCTC). "WHO is not against tobacco farmers, but as the
world's premier health agency, WHO is committed to addressing the to-
bacco epidemic," Dr Derek Yach, head of WHO's Tobacco Free Initiative
(TFI) told a delegation of the International Tobacco Growers Associa-
WHO Director General Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland has identified global
tobacco control as one of her major priorities. The proposed Framework
Convention, the world's first multilateral convention focusing specifi-
cally on a public health issue, would deal with a range of tobacco-
related issues but it would also ensure that individual countries are
protected from the impact of multinational tobacco companies.
Richard Tate, President, ITGA, said tobacco growers worldwide, but es-
pecially in the developing countries, were concerned about WHO's global
tobacco control initiative, adding that their concerns should not be
confused with those of tobacco multinationals. He hoped that WHO would
keep farmers' concerns firmly in focus during the negotiations.
WHO told the delegation that tobacco multinationals were shifting their
focus to developing countries, which will account for 70% of the 10
million annual tobacco deaths by about 2020. "WHO cannot simply stand
by and count the dead," said Richard Peto, scientific advisor to TFI.
The world's largest analytical study of tobacco deaths shows that, in
China, smoking already accounts for 75,000 deaths a year ð and this
will rise to 3 million by the time today's young smokers reach middle
Dr Yach, who chaired a meeting between public health professionals and
the ITGA in Zimbabwe in 1993, invited ITGA to work with WHO, the Food
and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World
Bank and other international agricultural agencies to explore long-term
options for crop substitution. In the interim, a focus on the role of
agriculture and trade policies, including subsidies that restrict ac-
cess by poor countries to the global tobacco market, was needed.
ITGA was told that WHO, FAO and the World Bank agree that, based upon
experience with narcotic control, efforts to reduce production will be
ineffective without a reduction in demand.
WHO is exploring the possibility of establishing a high-level panel of
economists and farmers to address long-term concerns of tobacco farm-
ers. Seeking a multilateral approach to long-term options for crop sub-
stitution, WHO has begun preliminary talks with other UN agencies in-
WHO has also started exploratory talks with international donor agen-
cies to assist farmers during the period of transition from tobacco to
other crops - this could occur two to three decades down the line when
demand for tobacco could shrink as a result of good control measures.
Tate agreed with WHO that global tobacco control will not lead to any
significant drop in consumption in the short and medium term. WHO rec-
ognizes that successful tobacco control will not reduce the need for
tobacco in the medium term - the world's current 1.2 billion smokers
could drop to between 800 million to one billion under good control
measures. That would still leave a substantial demand for tobacco.
WHO urged the ITGA to distance itself from tobacco multinationals' at-
tack WHO, FAO and the United Nations. Dr. Yach drew the attention of
the farmers delegation to secrets documents made available after the
Minnesota (US) trials which showed the ITGA in the early 1990's working
with tobacco transnationals to "split FAO/WHO", "destroy crop substitu-
tion myths", "attack WHO" and "question WHO priorities, budget".
Send mail for the `AFRO-NETS' conference to `firstname.lastname@example.org'.
Mail administrative requests to `email@example.com'.
For additional assistance, send mail to: `firstname.lastname@example.org'.