Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)

Excerpts from speeches by WHO Director-General, LEE Jong-wook: 2005

Speeches for:
2004 | 2003

Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean, fifty-second session

Full text

24 September 2005 -- The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is a positive example of how we can gather international consensus on damaging health behaviours, and work collectively on solutions. I thank all of you here who have already ratified. In February 2006, the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the FCTC will be held. I urge all of you who have not yet signed, or ratified, to do so.

Regional Committee for the Western Pacific, fifty-sixth session

Full text

19 September 2005 -- "The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is a positive example of how we can gather international consensus and work collectively on solutions. Fiji was the third country in the world, and the first developing country to ratify. In February 2006, the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the FCTC will be held. I urge all of you who have not yet become Parties to do so, and thank those who have."

Regional Committee for Europe, fifty-fifth session

Full text

12 September 2005 -- "The Framework Convention for Tobacco Control is a positive example of how we can gather international consensus on damaging health behaviours, and work collectively on solutions. I thank all of you here who have already ratified. In February 2006, the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the FCTC will be held. I urge all of you who have not yet signed or ratified, to do so."

Regional Committee for South-East Asia, fifty-eighth session

Full text

6 September 2005 -- "I thank all of you whose countries have signed the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and especially those nine countries that have ratified it in this Region. I urge the two countries that have not yet ratified to do so in order to become Parties to the Convention. In February 2006, the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the FCTC will be held.) The Convention is an excellent example of how international cooperation can provide strong support for national efforts to tackle the root causes of many cancers and heart disease."

Regional Committee for Africa, fifty-fifth session

Full text

22 August 2005 -- "I thank those of you whose countries have become parties to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and urge the rest of you to follow suit. It is an excellent example of how international cooperation can provide strong support for national efforts to tackle the root causes of many cancers and heart disease."

6th Global Conference on Health Promotion

Full text

7 August 2005 -- "The Ottawa Conference of 1986 is widely recognized as a watershed in the history of health promotion, and has had a profound influence on the development of health policy in many countries.

Initially, the interest came mostly from industrialized countries.

(…)

In California, USA, a comprehensive tobacco control programme has reduced the incidence of lung cancer by 14% over a 10-year period, compared to a reduction of only 3% in the rest of the US.

(…)

There are never enough human and financial resources for health promotion, but there are always new approaches and methods to increase our options. The global health promotion foundation network, which has its origins in the Victoria Health Promotion Foundation of Australia, is a good example, which has now spread to many other countries. The Thai Health Promotion Foundation, funded directly by a tax on tobacco and alcohol, is another.

Those who recognize the importance of health promotion have played and continue to play a vital role in tobacco control. Their vigorous support was a key to success in the adoption and ratification of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The Convention entered into force in February of this year and now has 74 states parties, including Thailand. We expect that number to reach 100 early in 2006. This is an encouraging trend and we must do everything we can to keep up the momentum. We all share the responsibility over the coming months and years of ensuring that the provisions of the Convention are fully met."

People's Health Assembly

Full text

12 July 2005 -- "This year, 2005, will be remembered as the one in which the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control came into force. It is a treaty ratified and enforced by governments but it is also the outcome of a strong social movement in favour of health and in opposition to a harmful industry. With that mass movement to sustain them, the governments of the world were able to reach agreement on measures to combat this major health problem. With continued mutual support, we are putting those measures into practice and ensuring that they get results."

EMRO Media event

Full text

28 June 2005 -- "The tobacco industry spent millions of dollars trying to convince people that smoking was not harmful. They tried to get this message across through the media. That is how you reach large numbers of people. But because journalists understood where the information was coming from, and because health workers helped them distinguish between accurate and biased reports, the industry message failed to achieve credibility. Accurate information about smoking saves lives."

Special Award for World No Tobacco Day to Dr Ginés González García, Minister of Health of Argentina

Full text

16 June 2005

Global Health Council - "Health systems — putting the pieces together" Plenary 2 "Turning rhetoric into reality"

Full text

2 June 2005 -- "I would like to contribute to the discussions here today by telling you how we have been putting knowledge into practice in the World Health Organization. I will refer to just four of them: negotiating, responding to emergencies, setting objectives, and tackling the social determinants of health.

First, negotiating. The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is an example. It entered into force in February and now has 66 Contracting Parties. It is the outcome of patient and purposeful discussion, which combined the efforts of many partners. Our immediate task now is to enable the greatest possible number of Member States to become Contracting Parties so as to maximize the impact of the Convention and fulfil its potential for saving lives.

This treaty was agreed on and put into effect more quickly than many people had expected, but that is only the beginning. The effort has to continue till we have achieved its ultimate objective, which is worldwide end of tobacco-related illness and deaths.

The day before yesterday was World No Tobacco Day. It reminded us that tobacco is still the biggest cause of preventable death in the world. But the struggle for prevention now has the major advantage of a legal framework and the support of a growing social consensus to drive it forward.

11th Annual Conference - Thriving in turbulent times - Challenges and Prospects

Full text

31 May 2005 -- "Where necessary, of course, we have to resort to the law, as we did in the case of tobacco. But the struggle for a healthy diet is fundamentally different. No one needs to smoke and it is always harmful. Everyone needs to eat, and good nutrition contributes perhaps more than anything else to good health. Making that vital contribution is as good for the producers and suppliers as it is for the consumers. Likewise, failure to make it is bad for everyone in the long run."

Fifty-Eighth World Health Assembly Address by the Director-General

Full text

16 May 2005 -- "You will be discussing our proposed programme budget for 2006–7 early this week. It is aimed at reinforcing the positive trend by improving results in countries. To do so, the budget shows increases in the areas of epidemic alert and response, maternal and child health, noncommunicable diseases, tobacco control, and response to emergencies. It reflects our commitment to increased efficiency in our action through results-based budgeting, and increased responsibility at the point of delivery of health care.

Negotiation is a powerful means of ensuring that knowledge leads to action. The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is a shining example of what can happen when creative dialogue combines the efforts of many partners. The Convention has now entered into force and has 64 Contracting Parties. Our goal is for the greatest possible number of Member States to become Contracting Parties so as to maximize the impact of the Convention and fulfil its potential for saving lives.

Bio Vision - The World Life Sciences Forum

Full text

13 April 2005 -- "I will mention briefly six current activities of WHO that are aimed at catalysing and supporting the kind of security and improved prospects for health that are needed everywhere in the world today.

(…)

The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control entered into force on 27 February and now has 61 States Parties. It provides us with an inspiring example of how persistent negotiation can result in wise choices in spite of many obstacles and counter-pressures. There were people at every stage of the discussions who predicted that they would fail. We were extremely happy to prove them wrong."

International Women's Day - Gender equality beyond 2005: the role of WHO in addressing inequities between women and men

Full text

8 March 2005 -- "Tobacco control can also be made much more effective by awareness of gender differences. In 2002, the overall tobacco use among men was about four times higher than among women globally. Now, however, more and more women are taking up tobacco use, and tobacco-related diseases and deaths among women are increasing. Marketing strategists are well aware of the different approaches that reach women; health strategists need to be equally aware of them."

Ceremony of entry into force of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

Full text

28 February 2005

Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

Full text

31 January 2005

Related links

Social media

Contact us

WHO Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases (PND)
Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health
20 Avenue Appia
1211 Geneva 27
Switzerland
Telephone: +41 22 791 4426
Fax: + 41 22 791 4832
E-mail: tfi@who.int