May. 18 2003
Washington, D.C. — Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson's statement today that the United States will support the global tobacco treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, removes the final obstacle to adoption of the treaty this week at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland. While we welcome the U.S. decision to drop its efforts to reopen the negotiations, we hope that U.S. support for the treaty comes without conditions or limitations and that the U.S. government ends all of its persistent efforts to weaken the treaty. The U.S. should now support full and rapid implementation of the treaty around the world.
The tobacco treaty has great potential to contain the global tobacco epidemic, which already kills about five million people a year worldwide, with that number projected to double in two decades. Seventy percent of those deaths will occur in developing nations. This treaty gives nations the tools to protect the health of their citizens from the tobacco industry though measures such as a ban on tobacco advertising, marketing and sponsorship (with an exception for nations with constitutional constraints) and large health warning labels covering at least 30 percent of the principal display areas of the cigarette pack.