400 Respond to U.N. Tobacco Survey
GENEVA (AP) - The World Health Organization said Friday it had received more than 400 responses to a request for views on the creation of a treaty for global tobacco control.
``We were expecting a good response and are now very encouraged by the overwhelming and diverse range of submissions received,'' said Derek Yach, head of the WHO's Tobacco Control Initiative.
Interested parties had until Thursday to submit their views. The documents will form the basis for two days of public hearings, scheduled for Oct. 12-13 in Geneva. This will be followed by the start of full negotiations between WHO member governments on a draft treaty.
WHO said it had received submissions from all the major tobacco companies, as well as people involved in growing, producing and selling tobacco products. Others who responded included public health groups, smokers' rights groups, sports organizations, church groups, the advertising industry and consumer groups.
The agency hopes to post all the submissions on its Web Site before the hearings.
This is the first time that WHO has sought widespread views on a public health issue. It hopes they will provide governments with food for thought as they consider what to include in the treaty, which will set out policies to control and contain tobacco-related deaths. The treaty should be ready for signature by 2003.
WHO estimates that tobacco use kills 4 million people every year. By 2030, this is expected to rise to 10 million.