WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
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The World Health Organization (WHO)’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is the first global convention on public health. Comprehensive tobacco control had been the subject of 20 resolutions – consensus statements of all the member states – passed by the World Health Assembly beginning in 1970. This was 20 years after Sir Richard Doll and Sir Austin Bradford Hill suggested a link between smoking and cancer. The idea of a legally binding international convention, proposed by the late Dr Ruth Roemer and supported by a report from Dr Judith Mackay, was given priority by the new WHO Director-General Dr Gro Brundtland in 1998 when she elevated tobacco control as one of WHO’s three flagship programmes and created the Tobacco Free Initiative. The idea took wing with the publication of a review of tobacco company strategies to undermine tobacco control activities at WHO, which drew on 13 million documents released by the US courts to the public in 1998. This Witness Seminar, held in Geneva on the fifth anniversary of the WHO FCTC in 2010, heard from key individuals actively involved with the treaty negotiations, held between 2000 and 2003, and which came into force on 27 February 2005.