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Advancing knowledge on regulating tobacco products, Oslo, Norway

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Introductory presentations

The meeting entitled “Advancing knowledge on regulating tobacco products”, held in Oslo, Norway on 9-11 February 2000, was organised in response to a call by Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, director general of the World Health Organization, for scientific evidence that could be used as the basis for regulating tobacco products. During the opening addresses, the then Norwegian Minister of Health, Mr Dagfinn HØybråten, and the WHO regional director for Europe, Dr Marc Danzon, both emphasised the need for sound evidence to be used as the basis for decisive action against tobacco. Mr HØybråten stressed the need for complementary national and global actions and urged that the output of the meeting be of use to the development of a product regulatory component of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and possible protocols.

The objectives of the meeting were based on an acknowledgement that comprehensive tobacco control policies and strategies were needed in all countries. The specific objectives of the meeting were to:

  • exchange scientific information about tobacco product design and manufacture needed for regulation;

  • define public health goals of regulation of tobacco products and how the concept of harm reduction fits within such goals;

  • identify priority research areas required to advance regulating tobacco products;

  • recommend whether a protocol on regulation should be developed as part of the FCTC.


A review of the epidemiology of tobacco and health, and current approaches to tobacco control, was presented by Derek Yach. Tobacco kills four million people annually worldwide and will kill 10 million a year by the 2020s. The epidemiological evidence highlights the need to assess the ultimate impact of control strategies on total mortality. A review of these strategies by Tapani Piha stressed the need for comprehensive national approaches that use effective measures able to reach all sectors of the population. Sustained …

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