Global Tobacco Treaty to take effect on 27th February.

Thursday 24 February 2005

ASH news release:  Embargo: 00:01 Thursday 24 February  2005


Global Tobacco Treaty to take effect on 27th February


On Sunday 27th February, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the international tobacco treaty negotiated under the auspices of the World Health Organization, will become international law.  More than 55 countries that have ratified this important treaty.  The FCTC is a major step forward in the worldwide battle against the death and disease caused by tobacco.  It provides the basic tools for countries to enact comprehensive tobacco control legislation and take on the powerful tobacco industry.


ASH congratulates the UK Government for ratifying the treaty and looks forward to working with the government to ensure that the treaty is fully implemented.


The entry into force of the FCTC marks a historic moment for global public health.  This groundbreaking, legally binding treaty gives countries basic tools to protect the health of their citizens from the tobacco industry’s deceptions and slick marketing.  It requires ratifying nations to adopt policies proven to reduce smoking and save lives such as: a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, and large, graphic health warning labels that cover at least 30 percent of cigarette packs.  The treaty also provides nations with a roadmap for enacting strong, science-based policies in other areas, including protection from secondhand smoke, increased tobacco taxation, and measures to combat cigarette smuggling.


Globally, The World Health Organization estimates that approximately five million people die each year from tobacco use. If current trends continue, this figure will reach 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.


Deborah Arnott, Director of the health campaigning charity ASH, said:


“We are delighted that the UK, together with so many other countries, has ratified this important treaty. It requires those countries to take action to cut smoking rates and cut the damage that smoking causes. One vital first step in the UK must be a comprehensive law to end smoking in all workplaces and enclosed public places, without unjustified exemptions for pubs and clubs. It is time for our Government to go the extra yard and announce that a Bill to do this will be put before Parliament in the first session after the General Election.”





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



Notes and links:

A media briefing for journalists is to be held on Thursday 24 February in Geneva. Details below:





WHEN:   Thursday 24 February 2005

WHERE:  Salle de Press 3 Palais des Nations (United Nations building)

WHO:    The scheduled speakers are Dr Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, Director, Tobacco Free Initiative, Dr Douglas Bettcher, Coordinator, WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Office.


Additional Interviews:

The following people will also be available for TV or phone interviews on Friday 25 Feb 2005, 14:00-16:00 (GMT+1), and Monday 28 Feb 2005 14:00-16:00 (GMT+1):


Dr Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, Director, Tobacco Free Initiative, WHO, (English,

Portuguese, Spanish)


Dr Douglas Bettcher, Coordinator, WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

Office, WHO (English, French).


Ceremony to celebrate the entry into force


WHEN:   Monday 28 February 2005: 11:00am – 13:00pm.

WHERE:  Executive Board Room, WHO Headquarters, Geneva.

WHO:    High level officials from developing and developed countries. Representatives from all Contracting Parties to the WHO FCTC and from other Member States.


For media: Media are welcome to attend the ceremony.** For television, a pool feed will be available.


After 1300, the following will meet with media in the Indian Room (adjacent to Executive Board Room):


Dr LEE Jong-wook – Director-General, WHO

Dr Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva – The Tobacco Free Initiative Director

Brazilian Ambassador Luiz Felipe de Seixas Corrêa

Representative of the Norwegian Government




***Journalists are requested to please contact Marta Seoane in advance if they plan to attend the ceremony in the WHO Headquarters.


For more information please contact Marta Seoane Communications Officer, Tobacco Free Initiative, WHO, Tel:  +41 22 791 2489, mobile: +41 79 4755 551, email:




All WHO Media Releases, Fact Sheets and Features as well as other information on this subject can be obtained on Internet on the WHO home page:






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