World No Tobacco Day 2011

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The World Health Organization selects "The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control" as the theme of the World No Tobacco Day 2011.

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) is the world's foremost tobacco control instrument. As the first treaty negotiated under the auspices of WHO, it represents a big achievement in the advancement of public health. In force since 2005, it is one of the most rapidly and widely embraced treaties in the history of the United Nations, with more than 170 Parties of which 41 are from the African region. An evidence-based treaty, it reaffirms the right of all people to the highest standard of health and provides new legal dimensions for cooperation in tobacco control.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death. This year, more than 5 million people will die from a tobacco-related heart attack, stroke, cancer, lung ailment or other diseases. That does not include the more than 600,000 people – more than a quarter of them children – who will die from exposure to second-hand smoke. The annual death toll from the global epidemic of tobacco use could rise to 8 million by 2030. Having killed 100 million people during the 20th century, tobacco use could kill 1 billion during the 21st century.

The WHO FCTC confers legal obligations on its Parties. It tackles both demand and supply reduction measures related to tobacco control. The treaty also recognizes the importance of international cooperation and of supporting low- and middle-income countries to meet their treaty obligations.

The treaty has already proved its efficacy in the fight against tobacco. Nevertheless, the implementation rates continue to vary substantially between different policy measures. More must be done for the treaty to reach its full potential, as the Parties themselves recognize. At their recent meeting in Punta del Este, Uruguay, they urged all countries to ratify the treaty, to fully implement its provisions and to adopt its guidelines.

World No Tobacco Day 2011 will highlight the treaty's overall importance; will stress Parties' obligations under the treaty and will promote the essential role of the Conference of the Parties - the treaty's central organ and governing body - and WHO in supporting countries' efforts to meet those obligations.

The campaign will focus on the following key message: that countries must fully implement the treaty to protect present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke.

On World No Tobacco Day 2011, WHO will urge countries to put the treaty at the heart of their efforts to control the global epidemic of exposure to tobacco. Countries will then enhance their ability to significantly reduce the toll of tobacco-related diseases and deaths.


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