Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)

WHA39.14 Tobacco or health

The Thirty-ninth World Health Assembly, 

    Recalling resolutions WHA31.56 and WHA33.35 on the health hazards of tobacco smoking and the WHO action programme on smoking and health; 

    Deeply concerned by the current pandemic of smoking and other forms of tobacco use, which results in the loss of the lives of at least one million human beings. every year and in illness and suffering for many more; 

    Believing that the battle between health and tobacco must and can be won for the sake of human health; 

    Encouraged by the existence of total bans, restrictions or limitations on tobacco advertising in several countries; 


(1) that tobacco smoking and the use of tobacco in all its forms is incompatible with the attainment of health for all by the year 2000;

(2) that the presence of carcinogens and other toxic substances in tobacco smoke and other tobacco products Is a known fact; and that the causal link between tobacco and a range of fatal and disabling diseases has been scientifically proven; 

(3) that passive, enforced or involuntary smoking violates the right to health of non-smokers, who must be protected against this noxious form of environmental pollution; 

2. CALLS for a global public health approach and action now to combat the tobacco pandemic; 

3. DEPLORES all direct and indirect practices the aim of which is to promote the use of tobacco, as this product is addictive and dangerous even when used as promoted; 

4. URGES those Member States which have not yet done so to implement smoking control strategies; these, as a minimum, should contain the following:

(1) measures to ensure that non-smokers receive effective protection, to which they are entitled, from involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke, in enclosed public places, restaurants, transport, and places of work and entertainment; 

(2) measures to promote abstention from the use of tobacco so as to protect children and young people from becoming addicted; 

(3) measures to ensure that a good example is set in all health-related premises and by all health personnel; 

(4) measures leading to the progressive elimination of those socioeconomic, behavioural, and other incentives which maintain and promote the use of tobacco; 

(5) prominent health warnings, which might include the statement that tobacco is addictive, on cigarette packets, and containers of all types of tobacco products; 

(6) the establishment of programmes of education and public information on tobacco and health issues, including smoking cessation programmes, with active involvement of the health professions and the media; 

(7) monitoring of trends in smoking and other forms of tobacco use, tobacco-related diseases, and effectiveness of national smoking control action; 

(8) the promotion of viable economic alternatives to tobacco production, trade and taxation; 

(9) the establishment of a national focal point to stimulate, support, and coordinate all the above activities; 

5. APPEALS to other organizations of the United Nations system: 

(1) to support WHO in all ways possible within their fields of competence; 

(2) to show solidarity with WHO's efforts to stem the spread of tobacco-induced diseases by protecting the health of non-smokers on their premises, as this action would have a major exemplar role; 

(3) to help Member States in identifying and implementing economic alternatives to tobacco cultivation, production and trade; 

6. REQUESTS the Director-General:

(1) to strengthen the present programme on smoking and health without waiting for its official introduction in the Eighth General Programme of Work, as a visible and resolute attitude on the part of WHO would provide Member States with encouragement and support, which are necessary prerequisites to abating the smoking pandemic before the year 2000;

(2) to mobilize support for the present programme on smoking and health in terms of funds and manpower which would ensure adequate programme continuity on a long-term basis;

(3) to coordinate activities in support of WHO's action on smoking and health with other organizations of the United Nations system at the highest executive level; 

(4) to continue and strengthen collaboration with nongovernmental organizations as appropriate; 

(5) to ensure that WHO plays an effective global advocacy role in tobacco and health issues and that, in common with other health institutions, it plays an exemplar role in non-smoking practices; 

(6) to provide support to national smoking control efforts; 

(7) to report on progress to the Executive Board at its eighty-first session and to the Forty-first World Health Assembly.  

Hbk Res., Vol. II (1985), 1.16.19

(Fourteenth plenary meeting, 15 May 1986 -Committee A, second report)