The World Health Organization (WHO) has intensified its drive against tobacco consumption by refusing to employ smokers. The 2,400 staff already employed by the WHO at its Geneva headquarters will not be affected by the new policy, even though they will also be encouraged to quit smoking.
Serving members will be prohibited from smoking at the premises of the WHO. The new people to be recruited will however be asked to if they will give up smoking if they were to be employed by the WHO. Tobacco related diseases kill almost 5 million people across the world every year, and this figure is expected to rise 10 million by 2020, with the developing nations accounting for most of the deaths.
The application forms of the organization will make it mandatory for job applicants to state if they are smokers. The agency seeks to promote a tobacco free environment across the world. The WHO is also engaged in a campaign against the tobacco industry. The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control of WHO bans sales of cigarettes to minors, in addition to bans on advertising and promoting tobacco products. The treaty has been ratified by as many as 100 nations.
The employment advertisements of WHO will make it clear that the agency will not encourage smokers to join the organization. Pro-smoking group Forest was highly critical of the new anti-smoking initiative of the WHO, and has said that smoking was a perfectly legal habit.