ASH applauds 40th ratification of global treaty and calls for immediate ratification by the UK Government.



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Wednesday 01 December 2004

ASH news release: For immediate release

Peru has become the fortieth country to ratify the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the international tobacco treaty negotiated under the auspices of the World Health Organisation. [1] Now that 40 countries have ratified it, this groundbreaking treaty is set to become international law in 90 days. ASH applauds Peru and the other countries that have ratified the FCTC for taking a major step forward in the worldwide battle against tobacco.

Deborah Arnott, Director of ASH said:

“We call on the UK government to immediately ratify the FCTC. Ratification and implementation of the treaty are critical to reducing the death and disease caused by tobacco in our country. Delaying ratification only serves the interest of the tobacco industry.”

The FCTC contains most of the measures that countries need to take to reduce tobacco consumption. The FCTC obliges countries to:

·       enact a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, marketing and promotion;

·       place large, graphic warnings on cigarette packs;

·       ban the use of misleading descriptors such as “light”, “low-tar” and “mild;”

·       raise tobacco taxes significantly;

·       provide smoke-free public spaces and workplaces;

·       compel companies to disclose the contents of tobacco products; and

·       consider using litigation to hold the tobacco industry liable for its wrongdoings.

In a letter to Tony Blair, ASH urges the government to honour its commitment to ratify the global tobacco treaty without further delay. In addition, ASH is seeking clarification on what planning mechanisms will be put in place to ensure that the UK complies with the FCTC’s requirement of a comprehensive national tobacco control strategy.

The World Health Organization estimates that about 4.9 million people die each year from tobacco use. If current trends continue, this figure will reach about 10 million per year by 2030, with 70 percent of those deaths occurring in developing countries. While the measures in the FCTC represent a minimum set of tobacco control policies, the treaty explicitly encourages countries to go above and beyond these measures. Strong action on the part of countries will give them the opportunity to reduce the human suffering caused by tobacco and curb runaway costs of tobacco-related health care.

ENDS

Notes and links:

[1] The 40 countries that have ratified the FCTC as of today are:

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.

[2] For further information about the FCTC see: www.fctc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2&Itemid=9

 

Contact: Deborah Arnott 020 7739 5902 (w) 079 7693 5987 (m) ISDN available

 

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