Health Ministers Urged To Stand Firm On Tobacco Action

The lives of patients and all citizens depend on health ministers standing by the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the World Medical Association said today.

The Convention is due to be adopted by the World Health Assembly which opens in Geneva this week. In a resolution passed at its Council meeting at the weekend, the WMA said that tobacco exacted a devastating toll on health and tackling the global tobacco epidemic required international solidarity.

The resolution declared: "The Convention commits governments to a set of policies to cut tobacco consumption. Developing countries look to the treaty to protect their citizens from the worst excesses of a powerful global industry".

Dr Yoram Blachar, chairman of the WMA Council, said:

"Every day physicians around the world see the suffering and death caused by tobacco. This Convention has the support of national medical associations across the world and represents the outcome of three years of negotiation".

"Yet throughout the process a number of countries have sought to water down the treaty. We urge health ministers this week to stand by the consensus text, adopt the treaty and seize this historic opportunity".