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[afro-nets] Global tobacco treaty enters into force

  • From: Leela McCullough <leela@healthnet.org>
  • Date: Wed, 02 Mar 2005 11:42:31 -0500

Global tobacco treaty enters into force
From WHO, http://www.who.int

Global tobacco treaty enters into force with 57 countries al-
ready committed

Parties represent 2.3 billion people

24 FEBRUARY 2005 | GENEVA -- The World Health Organization
Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) enters into
force on Sunday 27 February 2005. This represents an historical
moment in public health, as the Treaty gives countries more
tools to control tobacco use and save lives. On the 27th, the
provisions of the Treaty will be legally binding for the first
40 countries that became Contracting Parties before 30 November

Tobacco is the second leading cause of death globally, causing
nearly five million deaths a year. Estimates show that it will
prematurely kill ten million people a year by 2020 if current
trends are not reversed. Tobacco is the only legal product that
causes the death of half of its regular users. This means that
out of 1.3 billion smokers, 650 million people will die prema-

Seventeen additional countries have become Party to the treaty
since 29 November. For these, and every country which becomes
Party from now on, the Treaty becomes legally binding 90 days
after their date of deposit of the instrument of ratification or
equivalent at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

"Already 57 countries have become Party to the WHO FCTC, repre-
senting 2.3 billion people. Its entry into force is a demonstra-
tion of governments' commitment to reduce death and illness from
tobacco use," said Dr LEE Jong-wook, WHO Director-General. "I
encourage all countries to become Party to this Treaty, and to
implement the range of measures which will make tobacco use less
and less attractive to people. This can result in millions of
lives saved, and that is where the real success of this Treaty
resides," he added.

Now, with the entry into force, countries Party to the WHO FCTC
are bound to translate its general provisions into national laws
and regulations. These countries, for example, will have three
years from the day it enters into force for that country to im-
plement measures to ensure that tobacco packaging has strong
health warnings, or five years to establish comprehensive to-
bacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship bans, among others.

"Many countries have already put these measures in place," said
Dr Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, Director of the Tobacco Free
Initiative at the WHO. "The difference for global tobacco con-
trol is that countries Party to the Convention will be able to
implement these and other measures, especially those with cross-
border implications, in a coordinated and standardized way. This
will leave fewer loopholes for the tobacco industry, which cur-
rently finds ways to circumvent national laws."

Evidence shows that smoking harms nearly every organ of the
body. Tobacco use is the cause of the majority of lung cancer
cases and it has been linked to many other types of cancer, such
as cervical and kidney cancer. Other health risks associated
with tobacco include heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovas-
cular diseases; bronchitis, asthma and other respiratory dis-
eases as well as infertility. Tobacco use continues to expand,
especially in the developing world, where currently half of the
deaths due to tobacco occur. If current trends continue, seven
out of every ten deaths due to tobacco will occur in the devel-
oping world by 2020.

Notes to editors

The WHO FCTC was unanimously adopted by the 56th World Health
Assembly in May 2003. The WHO FCTC closed for signature on 29
June 2004 with 168 signatories (including the European Commu-
nity). The first 40 Contracting Parties to the WHO FCTC were Ar-
menia, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Canada,
Cook Islands, Fiji, France, Ghana, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ja-
pan, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mex-
ico, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan,
Palau, Panama, Qatar, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, Slova-
kia, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand,
Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay.

Since 30 November 2004, the following have also deposited the
instrument of ratification or equivalent: Botswana, Denmark,
Finland, Germany, Honduras, Latvia, Lesotho, Lithuania, Marshall
Islands, Netherlands, Peru, Senegal, Spain, Timor-Leste, Turkey,
United Kingdom and Viet Nam.

The WHO FCTC has provisions that set international standards on
tobacco price and tax increases, tobacco advertising and spon-
sorship, labelling, illicit trade and second-hand smoke among

The Treaty continues from now on to be open for ratification,
acceptance or approval for those countries that have signed, and
is open for accession for those that have not. There is no dead-
line for countries to become Contracting Parties to the WHO

The Conference of the Parties (COP) will be the governing body
of the Convention that will decide on technical, procedural and
financial matters relating to the implementation of the Treaty.
Countries that deposit the instrument of ratification or equiva-
lent before November 2005 will be voting Contracting Parties
during the first COP, which is scheduled to take place in Febru-
ary 2006.

- http://www.who.int/tobacco/framework/countrylist/en/ Current
status and full text of the WHO FCTC
- http://www.who.int/tobacco Tobacco Free Initiative
- http://www.who.int/tobacco/research/smokers_body/en/ Poster:
the smoker's body - health risks associated to tobacco

For more information contact:

Ms Marta Seoane - Communications officer
WHO/Tobacco Free Initiative
Tel: +41-22-791-2489
Mobile phone: + 41-79-475-5551

Leela McCullough, Ed.D.
Director of Information Services
30 California Street, Watertown, MA 02472, USA
Tel: +1-617-926-9400 Fax: +1-617-926-1212