Tob Control 8:362 doi:10.1136/tc.8.4.362f
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The Smokey Planet guide to the Framework Convention

The International Framework Convention on Tobacco Control has already become a familiar phrase, and everyone knows it is the lynchpin of the World Health Organization's long term strategy for tobacco control. But what exactly is it, and how is it likely to feature in the work of tobacco control advocates over the next few years? We offer here a basic guide to this most important development in international tobacco control, with thanks to the Advocacy Institute, USA, on whose work it is based.

The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, often abbreviated to FCTC, is an international treaty like the one on climate control, which is aimed at controlling tobacco use world wide because of the epidemic of disease and premature death which it causes. It is not only the first time such an approach has been used in tobacco control, but also the first international treaty on health—evidence of the top priority status WHO now gives to the tobacco problem. It will address such issues as tobacco advertising and promotion, agricultural diversification, smuggling, and taxation. It will be especially important in guiding developing countries, which are due to bear the worst of the projected 10 million premature deaths each year from smoking by the year 2025. Few developing countries have strong tobacco prevention programmes, and the FCTC will offer them the opportunity to strengthen tobacco control legislation, and to synchronise tobacco control policies with other countries.

Speaking in October 1998 only months after assuming office, Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, WHO's director general, …

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