Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)

Second TobReg Meeting in Rio, Brazil, 6-9 June 2005

The 2nd meeting of the WHO Study Group on Tobacco Product Regulation (TobReg) will be on 6 to 9 June 2005 in Rio, Brazil and will be jointly co-hosted by Brazil's National Agency for Sanitary Surveillance (ANVISA) and National Cancer Institute (INCA). As the think-tank for the WHO Tobacco Free Initiative on issues related to the regulation of tobacco products, TobReg has the mandate to:

  • to advise WHO on recommendations to governments in the achievement of a regulatory framework for tobacco products, and
  • to advise WHO on tobacco product regulation issues relevant to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, WHO's first international treaty designed as a public health tool to combat the global tobacco epidemic, and which will have the first session of its Conference of the Parties in February 2006.

Tobacco product regulation, along with uptake prevention, protection of the public from exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke, and promotion of tobacco cessation programs and activities, are the four key strategies for tobacco control. The provisions on the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control addressing specifically the product regulation area are:

  • Art. 9: Requires manufacturers to test the contents and emissions of each tobacco product sold in a country
  • Art. 10: Requires manufacturers to disclose to national authorities such contents and emissions
  • Art. 11: Requires packaging and labelling that inform the public about the harmfulness of tobacco products

Provisional meeting agenda items, inter alia, are: a scientific review of water pipes and flavored tobacco products, which is a market entry point for the tobacco industry to entice young people to start smoking; a discussion on setting upper limits for tobacco smoke carcinogens to reduce exposure; and most importantly in light of the entry into force of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control -- a binding international treaty, deliberations on the urgent need to have in place a set of generally accepted, standardized methods for evaluating and monitoring tobacco products. As a WHO Study Group, the future work of TobReg will be published as a Technical Report Series (TRS). The main topic in TobReg's TSR pipeline, which will be deliberated in depth during the second meeting, is a recommendation regarding a comprehensive, strategic regulatory plan for the use of long term biomarker(s) of tobacco smoke exposure.

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