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Stronger Government Action Against Tobacco A Must

28 February 2003

Main health professions say stronger government action against tobacco is a must

Physicians, nurses and pharmacists call for more to be included in the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

Geneva, 28 February 2003 - Voicing concern that crucial measures needed for an effective Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) are being "watered down", the World Health Professions Alliance (WHPA), today called for stronger tobacco control measures to be included in this WHO document . The WHPA is an alliance of the global representative bodies for physicians, nurses and pharmacists.

The terrible health consequences of tobacco have been well documented and proven beyond a shadow of doubt. Therefore governments should take stronger action to curb this epidemic and especially protect the vulnerable groups in global society. While the draft FCTC is a step in the right direction, health professionals are concerned that it lacks strength in crucial areas.

Advertising ban essential

A total ban on the advertising of tobacco products had been part of the original drafts, but had subsequently been changed due to pressure from tobacco lobbyists. Dr. Delon Human, the World Medical Association Secretary General, expressed disappointment that the draft FCTC does not include this ban. "Given the fact that tobacco advertising is targeted at the youth, it is a shame that this could not be included in the FCTC, as a matter of principle."

Second-hand smoke protection required Regulations to protect people from exposure to tobacco smoke (second-hand smoke) are also weakened and inadequate. "The current proposals in the FCTC on exposure to tobacco smoke, do not provide clear and comprehensive guidance to governments on measures for controlling tobacco smoke in public spaces and transport," stated Judith Oulton, Chief Executive Officer of the International Council of Nurses (ICN). "No common international norm is established".

Education programmes a must Ton Hoek, General Secretary of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), pointed out that very little emphasis had been placed on the need for national educational programs for the youth, warning them of the dangers of tobacco addiction and its consequences. "Effective health promotion and education starts at a young age, and we would have liked to see the FCTC reflect this fact".

The World Medical Association (WMA) is a global federation of national medical associations, representing the millions of physicians worldwide. Acting on behalf of physicians and patients, the WMA endeavours to achieve the highest possible standards of medical science, education, ethics and health care for all people.

The International Council of Nurses is a federation of 124 national nurses' associations representing the millions of nurses worldwide. Operated by nurses for nurses, ICN is the international voice of nursing and works to ensure quality care for all and sound health policies globally.

The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) is the world-wide federation of national associations representing pharmacists. Pharmacists are healthcare professionals dedicated to improving the access to and value of appropriate medicine use worldwide.

For further information contact Linda Carrier-Walker Tel : (+41 22) 908 0100 - Fax : (+41 22) 908 0101 email: carrwalk@icn.ch - Web site: www.icn.ch


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