Governments agree to strengthen tobacco-control efforts

November 21st, 2010 - 4:02 am ICT by BNO News  

PUNTA DEL ESTE, URUGUAY (BNO NEWS) — In a major blow to the tobacco industry, delegates from more than 170 countries on Saturday unanimously adopted a number of decisions to strengthen tobacco-control efforts worldwide.

The decisions were made during the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in Uruguay where delegates from 171 countries adopted a declaration proposed by the host country, reaffirming their commitment to prioritize health measures and to exchange information on the industry’s activities.

The Uruguay meeting reviewed the progress in implementation of the Convention and adopted new guidelines that provide further direction to governments on how to implement several of treaty’s provisions. It comes as a major blow to the tobacco industry, which is against the implementation of public health policies in regards to tobacco.

The delegates participating at the convention agreed that flavoring ingredients which increase attractiveness of tobacco products should be regulated in order to reduce the number of new smokers, especially among youth. It also agreed that smoking cessation services should be integrated into national health systems to make them more available for smokers who wish to quit.

Further, the delegates agreed that parties participating should establish an infrastructure and build capacity to support education, communication and training, thereby raising public awareness and promoting social change.

The delegations also discussed a report on price and taxation policy of tobacco products and agreed to establish a working group tasked with further work and possibly preparing the guidelines for implementation.

The delegations also decided that negotiations on a protocol to combat illicit trade in tobacco products should continue with the aim of completion in 2012. It also agreed to work on economically sustainable alternatives to tobacco growing to find appropriate policy options and recommendations.

In addition, the parties adopted decisions engaging cooperation with international organizations and bodies in promoting treaty implementation and strengthening assistance to developing countries to meet their obligation under the convention.

The conference also decided to harmonize the data collection initiatives in the area of tobacco control and to synchronize the cycle of parties’ implementation reports.

The World Health Organization said that further work remains, mainly in areas such as to control and prevent smokeless tobacco products and ‘electronic cigarettes.’ Other areas it named are the liability with regard to the health effects of tobacco consumption and cross-border advertisement.

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