Global Treaty Seeks to Curb Tobacco
01 Mar 2003, 09:55 UTC
More than 170 countries have backed a proposed global treaty to limit the supply and consumption of tobacco, aimed at reducing smoking-related death and disease.
Member states of the World Health Organization approved the final text of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control during a meeting Saturday in Geneva, Switzerland.
The proposed accord, which took four years to draft, would impose worldwide restrictions on tobacco advertising and labeling, as well as crack down on smuggling and limit second-hand smoke. It would also recommend smoking prevention programs, tax increases on tobacco products and medical help for smokers who want to quit.
The United States objected to parts of the treaty, particularly a section requiring manufacturers to put a health warning label that would cover at least 30 percent of a pack of cigarettes.
The tobacco treaty is expected to be adopted in May at the U.N. health agency's annual assembly. It would come into force, when it was ratified by 40 member nations.
The WHO estimates that nearly five million people died last year from cancer, cardiovascular disease and other ailments linked to tobacco use.
The United States is home to the world's largest tobacco exporter, Philip Morris.
The director general of WHO, former Norwegian prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, called the proposed convention "a real milestone in the history of global public health." She said the treaty will save millions of lives.
Anti-smoking activists also praised the accord, saying it will reduce the
ability of big tobacco companies to spread addiction and disease around the
Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.
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