WHO Treaty Calls for Worldwide Ban on Cigarette Ads, Sports Sponsorships by Tobacco Companies
The World Health Organization has drafted an international treaty that would gradually ban cigarette advertising and sports sponsorships by tobacco companies, the New York Times reports. The antismoking pact, proposed by the United Nations agency as part of a campaign to "curb smoking worldwide," would require all nations that sign the treaty to "prevent and reduce tobacco consumption, nicotine addiction and exposure to tobacco smoke." However, antismoking advocates "dismissed the draft as too weak," and some contend that the Bush administration is "undermining some of the toughest proposals." The United States has opposed across-the-board bans because of concerns that free speech guarantees would be jeopardized. African nations and the European Union have favored the advertising bans, except for Germany, which has "argued for less stringent provisions." Japan, a cigarette exporter, opposes the restrictions. Tobacco companies have agreed not to direct ads at young people but "oppose flat-out" the bans on advertising. Tobacco representatives have been barred from attending the negotiating sessions. Once the treaty is adopted and ratified by at least 30 governments, it will take effect. Although the treaty calls for the "gradual elimination" of ads and sponsorships, the WHO has no timetable to achieve its goals. The next meeting of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control will take place in October (Olson, New York Times, 7/22).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.