The World Health Organization (WHO) marked 10 years on February 26, 2015, since the entry into force of its Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), saying it has registered great achievements in curbing the global tobacco epidemic and promoting public health.
Dr. Vera Silva, head of the Convention Secretariat, said the WHO FCTC has enabled parties to make many significant achievements in tobacco control, with 80 percent of countries having strengthened their tobacco control legislation, increasing the cost of a packet of cigarettes by 150 percent on average.
Many countries have banned smoking in indoor and outdoor public spaces, which has helped to ensure that smoking is no longer seen as socially acceptable, she added.
The full implementation of the WHO FCTC would support global commitments to achieving a 25 percent reduction in premature deaths from non-communicable diseases by 2025, including a 30 percent reduction in the prevalence of tobacco use in persons aged 15 years and over.
"The WHO Framework Convention stands out as the single most powerful preventive instrument available to public health," said Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO director general.
The Convention is the first international treaty negotiated under the WHO's auspices, and has become one of the fastest endorsed by the United Nations to date, with 180 parties, covering 90 percent of the world's population.
However, WHO noted that the fight against tobacco is far from over, for tobacco companies are still spending billions on advertising, and the use of new products like electronic nicotine delivery systems and of existing products in new settings is gaining in popularity.
"To counter the tobacco lobby's influence, we must stand together against this insidious industry," Dr. Silva said. "We must fight to save the 6 million lives lost each year to tobacco."
Another issue that remains high on the WHO FCTC's agenda is the illicit tobacco trade, which was cited as accounting for one in every 10 cigarettes and many other tobacco products consumed globally.
To respond to this challenge, this issue has been chosen as the theme for WHO's World No Tobacco Day campaign in 2015.
(Source: Xinhua )
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