Worldwide activities against snuff are increasing in more than 100 countries using the momentum of the global convention to control snuff. The countries meeting in Geneva, representing 74% of world population, will plan implementation of the treaty monitoring snuff.
Worldwide effective measures are being adopted to reduce the consumption of snuff, for example, by strengthening legislation, the use of warning labels and a ban on advertising. These positive changes reinforce the commitment made by the more than 110 countries that are meeting this week to agree the details of the implementation of the Framework Convention of the World Health Organization for Snuff Control (FCTC).
Many of these countries, which participate in the first Conference of Parties in Geneva, have already implemented some of the measures envisaged in the treaty. Spain, Ireland and Norway, for example, have recently banned smoking in indoor public places. India has comprehensive bans on advertising of snuff, and in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Thailand and Singapore, people print graphic warnings on cigarette packages. These are just some examples of efforts that will help reduce the number of deaths caused by snuff.
"This group has already changed history," said Dr. LEE Jong-wook, Director of the World Health Organization. "We are all committed to the Convention. Its provisions are sound and well-grounded in knowledge. We will give results."
Dr. Lee made these remarks at the first Conference of Parties, which meets this week in Geneva. The Conference of the Parties, deliberative body of the treaty, is the authority to oversee, monitor and evaluate progress made in implementing the Convention in order to reduce worldwide consumption of snuff and deaths it causes.
Concrete measures contained in the treaty could help save 200 million lives by 2050, if you get a progressive 50% reduction in the rates of initiation of smoking and consumption of snuff. Some of the measures of the WHO Framework Convention have clear guidelines. For example, since the entry into force of the treaty, countries have three years to impose the inclusion of health warnings on snuff products and five years to enact bans on advertising, promotion and sponsorship snuff.
Other measures, such as the illicit trade or cross-border advertising, are not detailed in the treaty. It is possible that the Conference of the Parties decided to develop protocols and specific guidelines and requirements for countries in implementing such measures.
The Conference will likely also consider other measures to ensure the effective implementation of the remaining provisions of the treaty. These actions can include financial support to developing countries, or mechanisms to ensure that countries are not lagging behind in implementation.
In February 2007, the first Contracting Parties will submit to the Conference the initial reports on the progress made, detailing the steps taken to implement the control measures envisaged in the treaty snuff.
"It's a crucial time for people who suffer the consequences of snuff," said Dr. Mochizuki-Kobayashi, Director of the Free Snuff Initiative, WHO. "The snuff is still the top preventable cause of mortality. Our goal is to move from that first place in the near future. With continued commitment from Member States, we will succeed"