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Wed 1 Aug 2007 12:00 AM

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Protocol on illicit tobacco trade in negotiation

The 146 Parties to the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) have begun to negotiate a protocol on the illicit trade of tobacco products.

The 146 Parties to the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) have begun to negotiate a protocol on the illicit trade of tobacco products. A resolution has also been passed that aims to limit public exposure to second hand smoke.

"It is important that we do not lose precious momentum started by the expert group on the illicit trade issue," said Dr Haik Nikogosian, head of the convention secretariat. "This transnational phenomenon negatively affects national security and economics, as well as public and personal health in many countries.

The guidelines on protection from second-hand smoke give authorities clear direction on how to establish smoke-free environments. "Sound science proves there is no safe level of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke," said Dr Douglas Bettcher, head of the WHO Tobacco Free Initiative.

"We are working harder than ever with governments, civil society and other public health experts to denormalise tobacco, and smoke-free environments are one of the key measures to bring about this major shift in social norms to save millions of lives in coming decades."

Work is also underway on guidelines related to packaging and labelling of tobacco products and tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. The WHO describes the Framework Convention, which came into force on 27 February 2005, has become one of the most widely embraced treaties in the history of the United Nations.

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