Home > Health/Pharma > UN urges global action against tobacco

UN urges global action against tobacco

Wed, 01 Jun 2011 13:39:06 GMT

The United Nations urges governments to fight tobacco more seriously, stressing that the policy-makers already have the tools needed to fight the yearly killer of 6 million people.

Marking World No Tobacco Day, the UN on Tuesday called on all countries to sign up to the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which has accumulated 173 States Parties since opened in 2003.

The United States, Indonesia, Argentina and Ethiopia are among the few remaining countries which have not yet become States Parties to the treaty.

The convention spells out a series of measures for reducing the tobacco use, including the restrictions on sales to minors, the introduction of taxes on cigarettes, and the implementation of comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising.

Too many countries lag behind in their commitments to eliminate all forms of tobacco advertising or to ban smoking in workplaces and public spaces, warned Douglas Bettcher, Director of WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative. “That means no designated smoking areas, no carve-out areas for people to smoke.”

While there are no formal international guidelines on the appropriate level of taxes on cigarette packets available, WHO has established a yardstick suggesting that such taxes should comprise at least 70 percent of the eventual retail price, he added.

In addition, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his message to mark the Day noted the myriad health problems and costs associated with smoking.

“Tobacco use makes us poorer – in health and economic terms.” Tobacco is estimated to have killed about 100 million people last century and could kill as many as 1 billion more this century unless action is taken,” the UN chief warned nations.

Categories: Health/Pharma
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