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The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) is the first global public health treaty. It is an evidence-based treaty that reaffirms the right of all people to the highest standard of health.

The WHO FCTC was developed by countries in response to the globalization of the tobacco epidemic. It aims to tackle some of the causes of that epidemic, including complex factors with cross-border effects, such as trade liberalization and direct foreign investment, tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship beyond national borders, and illicit trade in tobacco products.

The preamble to the Convention shows how countries viewed the need to develop such an international legal instrument.

It cites their determination “to give priority to their right to protect public health” and the “concern of the international community about the devastating worldwide health, social, economic and environmental consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke”. It then notes the scientific evidence for the harm caused by tobacco, the threat posed by advertising and promotion, and illicit trade, and the need for cooperative action to tackle these problems. Other paragraphs of the preamble note the role of civil society, and the human rights that the Convention aims to support.

The Convention entered into force on 27 February 2005 – 90 days after it had been acceded to, ratified, accepted, or approved by 40 States. There are currently 181 Parties to the Convention.

The Parties have made great progress in tobacco control since then, often as a result of fulfilling their obligations under the convention. The global progress reports, and the implementation database maintained by the Convention Secretariat, demonstrate the achievements as well as the areas in which more progress needs to be made.

The Conference of the Parties (COP) is the governing body of the WHO FCTC and is comprised of all Parties to the Convention.

DOWNLOAD: The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC)

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