Countries agree on tobacco control
Representatives of 172 nations agree to link guidelines on tobacco use and sale to broader economic development issues.
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2010 01:53 GMT
The COP meeting also approved guidelines on controlling tobacco flavourings and additives [AFP]

Representatives of 172 countries, signatories of the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, have agreed on guidelines to control the use and sale of tobacco products.

The countries agreed to integrate smoking cessation programmes into national health systems, and support programmes aimed at educating people about the health risks of smoking, the WHO said in a statement on Saturday following a week-long conference in Uruguay.

"These guidelines will help countries adapt their laws to meet the false arguments of the tobacco industry," said Canadian Cancer Society senior policy analyst Rob Cunningham.

The event, known as the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the global tobacco treaty, approved guidelines on controlling tobacco flavourings and additives despite lobbying from  the tobacco industry.

Control supporters say that tobacco companies use the flavourings to attract young smokers.

The COP also formed a working group to draft guidelines on taxing tobacco products, which supporters say is the most effective short-term measure to reduce consumption.

"This has been a very successful week concerning tobacco control policies," said Uruguayan Public Health Minister Daniel Olesker.

The treaty signers have demonstrated "a willingness to protect  the health of the citizens of the world rather than the interests of  the tobacco industry", said Laurent Huber, Director of the Framework  Convention Alliance (FCA), an NGO that represents more than 350  groups worldwide supporting tobacco controls.

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