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Global tobacco control conference opens in Panama

Delegates from around the world gathered in Panama City today to open the 10th Conference of the Parties (COP10) to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the WHO FCTC.

The Convention’s 183 Parties, representing more than 90% of the world’s population, work together to enhance and advance tobacco control. In the first 20 years of this century, tobacco prevalence among adults fell from nearly 33% to 22%, even though the planet’s population has continued to expand.

Dr Adriana Blanco Marquizo, Head of the Secretariat of the WHO FCTC welcomed attendees and warned of the increasing availability of novel and emerging nicotine and tobacco products.

These are, “becoming a very troubling problem with an alarming increase in the use of these products by young people. Part of this increase is due to disingenuous tobacco industry messages portraying these products as a replacement for real tobacco control measures, as the industry again tries to claim a seat at the table – as part of the solution to an epidemic that the industry created and continues to sustain.”

She also asked everyone to be alert to the relentless interference of the tobacco industry in every corner of the world, noting “the efforts that the tobacco industry has undertaken in trying to derail not only COP10 but each and every COP.”

COP is the governing body of the WHO FCTC and comprises all Parties to the Convention. It keeps under regular review the implementation of the Convention and takes the decisions necessary to promote its effective implementation.

The Conference will consider a wide range of work to direct the future of the WHO FCTC in its work in fighting the tobacco pandemic, which kills 8.7 million people worldwide every year.

Discussions at COP10 will include:

  • Implementation of Articles 9 and 10 of the WHO FCTC (Regulation of contents and disclosure of tobacco products): reports by the Bureau, by the Expert Group and by WHO 
  • Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship: depiction of tobacco in entertainment media: report by the Working Group  
  • Novel and emerging tobacco products
  • Forward-looking tobacco control measures (in relation to Article 2.1 of the WHO FCTC)
  • Implementation of Article 19 of the WHO FCTC: Liability
  • Improving the reporting system of the WHO FCTC 
  • Implementation Review Mechanism 
  • Contribution of the WHO FCTC to the promotion and fulfilment of human rights
  • WHO FCTC Investment Fund

COP10 runs from today until Saturday 10 February.

It is followed by the third Meeting of the Parties (MOP3) to the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products from Monday, 12 February to Thursday, 15 February 2024. 

Notes to editors:

This is the first in-person COP since 2018, with earlier meetings held remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control explained

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) is the first international treaty negotiated under the auspices of the World Health Organization. It was adopted by the World Health Assembly on 21 May 2003 and entered into force on 27 February 2005. It has since become one of the most rapidly and widely embraced treaties in United Nations history, with 183 Parties. The WHO FCTC was developed in response to the globalization of the tobacco epidemic and is an evidence-based treaty that reaffirms the right of all people to the highest standard of health. The Convention represents a milestone for the promotion of public health and provides new legal dimensions for international health cooperation.

Source: FCTC

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