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Foreword by the Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
  1. Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva
  1. Convention Secretariat, WHO FCTC & Protocol to eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, Organisation mondiale de la Sante, Geneve, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, Convention Secretariat, WHO FCTC, Organisation mondiale de la Sante, Geneve, Switzerland; dacostaesilvave{at}

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The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) is one of the biggest public health achievements of the 21st century. It is the world’s first public health treaty negotiated under the WHO constitutional framework and is today legally binding in 181 Parties (180 countries and the European Union). The Convention aims to protect present and future generations from the devastating health, economic, social and environmental impact of tobacco and requires implementation of a comprehensive set of supply and demand reduction measures to this effect. It is a strong public health instrument to the effect that it entails the involvement of a number of different sectors for its implementation and a combination of cross-cutting provisions, such as Article 5.3 on protection of public health policies from tobacco industry interference and Article 19 on liability as a public health measure.

The Conference of the Parties is the governing body of the WHO FCTC, the world’s only intergovernmental body fully responsible for shaping global directions in tobacco control. Through its decisions, the Conference of the Parties guides the Parties to the Convention in their implementation work and facilitates engagement with other stakeholders at regional and global levels to mobilise support for the implementation of the Convention. Its decisions and the guidelines on various WHO FCTC articles that it adopted provide guidance to Parties on how to implement strong policies and legislation in line with the requirements of the Convention, thus addressing an epidemic that claims globally 7 million deaths each year, due to either tobacco use or exposure to secondhand smoke.

The WHO FCTC had been in force for almost 10 years, when the Conference of the Parties, in late 2014 at its sixth session held in Moscow, Russian Federation, decided to assess its impact.

The WHO FCTC impact assessment was carried out …

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