Tobacco Treaty Calls for Ad Controls
GENEVA (AP) -- The World Health Organization on Tuesday published the proposed text of a treaty on tobacco control which would phase out tobacco sponsorship deals and advertising in newspapers, magazines and on the Internet.
The draft treaty was drawn up by Brazilian Ambassador Celso Amorim following a week of negotiations in October. The proposal is to be taken up by WHO member governments at a second negotiating session, starting April 30.
If it is accepted, governments would commit themselves to ``prohibiting all forms of direct and indirect tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship targeted at persons under the age of 18'' and to severely curbing other advertising.
Governments also would phase out sporting sponsorship and cross-border advertising such as in newspapers, on cable or satellite television and on the Internet.
The proposed treaty stops short of an outright ban on advertising, even though 25 countries supported the idea during the negotiations.
``The draft provisions ... represent a compromise that I have made after reviewing the proposals and recommendations made during the first session of the negotiating body,'' Amorim wrote in a note.
The treaty is meant to take force by 2003, but would only be binding on countries which sign and ratify it.
Under the draft treaty, signatories would also commit themselves to banning tax-free and duty-free sales of tobacco products and imposing taxes high enough to ensure that tobacco consumption would undergo a ``stable and continuous reduction.''
The anti-smoking drive is one of WHO's top priorities as cigarettes kill more than 4 million people per year. The toll is forecast to soar because of an explosion in disease in places like China, where 70 percent of men smoke.
WHO began work on the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 1999 in a bid to stave off predictions that smoking-related deaths would hit 10 million per year by 2030.