The World Health Organization announced on March 1 a groundbreaking public health treaty to control tobacco supply and consumption.

The meeting in Geneva agreed on a final text for a WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) governing tobacco taxation, smoking prevention and treatment, illicit trade, advertising, sponsorship and promotion, and product regulation.

The FCTC was backed by all but twenty of the WHO’s 191member states. Although the dissidents were not identified, they are likely to include the US, Japan and Germany, all of whom have previously opposed controls on tobacco advertising.

WHO director-general Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland hailed the convention as: “A real milestone in the history of global public health. Moreover, it is a milestone in international collaboration in a globalized world.”

The final text will be presented for adoption to the World Health Assembly in May. Once adopted, the FCTC will be opened for signature by Member States and will come into force shortly after it has been ratified by forty countries.

Data sourced from: World Health Organisation ; additional content by WARC staff