by VR Sreeraman on  November 23, 2008 at 12:26 PM General Health News
 Countries Adopt New Guidelines to Strengthen Anti-tobacco Treaty
Delegates from 160 countries agreed Saturday on new guidelines to block the tobacco industry from interfering in state health policies and the implementation of a global anti-tobacco treaty.

The week-long conference in South Africa is the third session of the World Health Organisation's (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) aimed at fighting against tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

"Tobacco industry interference has been the number one obstacle to the treaty's implementation," conference organisers said in a statement.

"The abuses of corporations like Philip Morris International (PMI), British American Tobacco (BAT) and Japan Tobacco have ranged from attempting to write tobacco control laws, blocking the passage of smoke-free legislation, and using so-called 'corporate social responsibility' to circumvent ad bans," it said.

Delegates want to ban government partnership or collaboration with the tobacco industry. New guidelines scrapping special treatment for state-owned tobacco companies and for corporations to "disclose activities such as lobbying and research funding."

The WHO estimates five million people die each year from diseases related to smoking and claims that figure could double by 2020 if preventive action is not taken.

Source: AFP

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