WASHINGTON, DC (Aug. 8, 2012) Action on Smoking & Health (ASH) calls on President Obama to immediately submit the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to the Senate for ratification. The United States signed the FCTC in 2004, but 8 years and 2 administrations later it still languishes in the White House. Meanwhile, the instrument has been adopted by 175 countries—representing 87% of global population—making it one of the most rapidly-embraced treaties in history.
The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is a historic effort to end a public health catastrophe. The world’s first public health treaty, and the first treaty negotiated by the World Health Organization, the FCTC aims to “protect present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke.”
The FCTC addresses the tobacco epidemic in a comprehensive manner. Among its obligations:
- Barring the tobacco industry from participating in the development of public health regulations;
- Protecting people from involuntary exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke;
- Requiring industry disclosure of ingredients in tobacco products, and requiring their regulation;
- Requiring large warning labels, and banning misleading qualifiers like “light” and “low”;
- Banning all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship;
- Fighting tobacco product smuggling; and
- Assisting farmers in transitioning to other livelihoods.
“The United States has been sitting on the sidelines of this historic and vital effort for too long, says Laurent Huber, ASH Executive Director. “Unless greater action is taken, 1 billion people will die from tobacco this century—a 10-fold increase over the 20th century toll. And in spite of all of our progress here in the U.S., 2,000 to 3,000 children begin smoking every day and more than a quarter of all deaths are attributable to tobacco.”