World No Tobacco Day, 31 May 2011
The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
A comprehensive solution: the WHO FCTC
The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the first international public health treaty developed under the auspices of WHO, provides a comprehensive approach to reduce the considerable health and economic burden caused by tobacco.
The WHO FCTC is a significant milestone in public health. Developed in response to the globalization of the tobacco epidemic, it is one of the most rapidly embraced treaties in the history of the United Nations. It was adopted by the World Health Assembly on 21 May 2003 and entered into force less than two years later, on 27 February 2005. More than 170 of the 193 Member States of WHO are Parties to it.
The Conference of the Parties is the treaty's governing body, and is supported by the Convention Secretariat. The Conference regularly reviews and promotes the implementation of the treaty. The Conference held its most recent session in Uruguay in November 2010.
In the past, each country tried to control the tobacco epidemic on its own. The globalization of the epidemic rendered these efforts ineffective. Traditional public health methods for reducing tobacco use, such as individual interventions by health-care professionals, were no match for the tobacco industry's power, transnational reach, formidable resources and active promotion of tobacco use.
A global public health problem required a global response. The WHO FCTC represents a new approach in international health cooperation, using a global legal framework to address a globalized epidemic.
The WHO FCTC contains core demand- and supply-reduction provisions of proven effectiveness. It reaffirms the right of all people to the highest standard of health. It inhibits the tobacco industry's ability to influence the health policies that are designed to protect people from tobacco. It calls for enhanced international cooperation to protect present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to second-hand smoke.