World’s First Anti-Smoking Treaty Becomes Law

World’s First Anti-Smoking Treaty Becomes Law

MANILA, Philippines, Feb. 24 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ — The world’s first
tobacco control treaty, the World Health Organization Framework
Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), becomes binding
international law on Sunday, 27 February 2005. One of the most
rapidly embraced UN treaties of all time, the WHO FCTC is aimed at
improving global health by reducing tobacco consumption, currently the
cause of premature death for nearly 5 million people every year.

”The devastation caused by the tobacco pandemic dwarfs SARS and the
recent tsunami. Every year, five million people die from
tobacco-related diseases. In the Western Pacific Region alone, 3000
people die each day from tobacco use,” stated Dr Shigeru Omi, Director
of WHO’s Western Pacific Region. “Now we have the global tools to
fight a global problem. It’s time for all countries to join the

The WHO FCTC is intended to control what has become the second biggest
killer of our time. Tobacco consumption is the single leading
preventable cause of death. It will prematurely end the lives of 10
million people a year by 2020 if current trends are not reversed.
Tobacco is the only legal product that causes the death of one half of
its regular users. This means that of the current 1.3 billion smokers
worldwide, 650 million people will die prematurely due to tobacco.

Convention provisions set international standards on tobacco price and
tax increases, tobacco advertising and sponsorship, labelling, illicit
trade and second-hand smoke.

The WHO FCTC was unanimously adopted by the Fifty-sixth World Health
Assembly in May 2003, following almost three years of negotiations.
During the year that followed, while it was open for signature, 167
countries and the European Community signed, and 23 countries became
contracting parties.

On 30 November 2004, the 40th country ratified the convention,
triggering a 90-day countdown for its entry into force. As of 23
February 2005, a total of 57 countries had ratified the convention.

In the Western Pacific Region, 13 countries have ratified the
convention. They are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cook Islands,
Fiji, Japan, the Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Nauru, New Zealand,
Palau, Singapore, Solomon Islands and Viet Nam. Fiji was the first
Western Pacific country to ratify, on 3 October 2003.

Notes to editors:

The 40 contracting parties to the WHO FCTC as of 30 November 2004 were
Armenia, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Canada,
Cook Islands, Fiji, France, Ghana, Hungary, Iceland, India, Japan,
Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico,
Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Palau,
Panama, Peru, Qatar, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia,
Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay.

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 deadline for
countries to become contracting parties. Any state that becomes a
contracting party will be bound by the treaty 90 days following the
deposit of its instrument of ratification (or equivalent) in the
United Nations headquarters in New York.

The body that will govern the WHO FCTC is the Conference of the
Parties (COP). The first session of the COP will take place within a
year from the date of entry into force, as specified in the
convention. The first session has tentatively been scheduled for
February 2006. The COP is expected to determine further procedural and
technical issues relating to its future development.

For current status and full text of the WHO FCTC, please visit:
. For further information, please contact: Burke Fishburn, Tobacco
Free Initiative, WHO WPRO Tel: +63-2-528-9894 Email:
[email protected] All WHO press releases, fact sheets and
features, as well as other information can be obtained at
() .

SOURCE World Health Organization

02/24/2005 02:27 ET