International Trend in Tobacco Control
Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
To control the harmful effects of tobacco, the World Health Organization (WHO) works actively to encourage Member States to ratify the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). It is an international treaty on tobacco control which aims to reduce smoking-included morbidity and mortality by imposing regulations on tobacco products, such as their content, packaging, advertising, marketing, sponsorship, price, taxation and illicit trade etc. The FCTC entered into force on 27 February 2005.
Currently there are more than 170 States Parties to the FCTC, each taking gradual steps to implement their tobacco control measures. China signed the FCTC on 10 November 2003 and became Party to it on 11 October 2005. From 9 January 2006, FCTC became effective in the country.
The Conference of Parties (COP) is the governing body of the FCTC which reviews the implementation of the Convention regularly and takes decisions to promote the implementation effectively. The COP has adopted guidelines for implementation of the Convention as follows,
For up to date information on the FCTC, please visit:
Indoor smoking ban
In recent years, many countries and places have enacted laws to prohibit smoking in indoor workplaces and indoor public places, such as restaurants and bars etc. In the State of California (USA), one of the first places where indoor smoking ban was implemented, the Smoke-free Workplace Regulation took effect in restaurants and workplaces in 1995 and in bars, taverns and gaming clubs in 1998.
The successful experience of California was then followed by other states. The Clean Indoor Air Act of New York State went into effect in 2003.
The Californian law has also prohibited smoking in cars with children under 18 since January 2008. Several other states such as Louisiana and Maine have passed such laws as well. In Canada, several provinces such as Ontario and Nova Scotia have also issued laws to ban smoking in cars with children as passengers.
For further information on tobacco control legislations of the States of California, New York and the province of Ontario of Canada, please visit:
A number of European countries have enacted legislations on indoor smoking ban, among which Ireland was one of the first countries that went smoke-free. On 29 March 2004, all indoor public areas in Ireland, including restaurants and bars became no smoking areas and this legislation was widely accepted and supported. Apart from Ireland, other countries such as Malta, Spain and Norway have also implemented indoor smoking ban. With effect from 26 March 2006, the indoor public areas of Scotland went smoke-free. In England, the legislation prohibited smoking in substantially all enclosed public places and workplaces from 1 July 2007.
For further information about the tobacco control legislations of these countries, please visit:
In Asia-Pacific region, the indoor smoking ban legislation of New Zealand went into force in 10 December 2004. It was found in the first anniversary evaluation report that the legislation received major support from New Zealander and has brought positive impact to the economy. Apart from New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand have implemented smoking bans in most of their indoor public places as well. Smoking is also banned in most indoor public places in states and territories of Australia such as Queensland, Tasmania. In addition to the indoor public places, smoking is prohibited in cars carrying children in most of the states and territories.
For further information about these legislations, please visit:
Evaluation reports on the effectiveness of the implementation of indoor smoking ban that were done by various countries:
Pictorial health warning
Pictorial health warnings on tobacco packages are a cost-effective way to inform the public about the dangers of tobacco use so as to reduce smoking. Pursuant to Guidelines for Article 11 of the WHO FCTC, Parties should adopt large, rotating health warnings with full colour pictures on all tobacco packages. To facilitate the information exchange of the pictorial health warnings among countries and Parties, WHO FCTC has launched an online database of the warnings. For details, please visit:
Some countries and regions have already required tobacco packages to display pictorial health warnings, such as human organs that were damaged by smoking or the hazards of smoking to smoker's family. The objective of these warnings is to enhance their visual effects.
Some other countries such as New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Venezuela and Uruguay have also required cigarette packets to contain pictorial health warnings.
Packaging and labelling of tobacco products
According to Article 11 of the FCTC, each Party shall, within a period of three years after entry into force of this Convention for that Party, adopt and implement, in accordance with its nations law, effective measures to ensure that tobacco products packaging and labelling do not promote a tobacco product by any means that are false, misleading, deceptive or likely to create an erroneous impression about its characteristics, health effects, hazard or emissions , including any terms, descriptor, trademark, figurative or any other sign that directly or indirectly creates the false impression that a particular tobacco products is less harmful that other tobacco products. These may include terms such as "low tar", "light", "ultra-light", or "mild".
Some countries have already enacted legislations to regulate the packaging and labelling of tobacco products while litigations were made in some countries. These countries include Australia and Ireland. For further information, please visit:
The United States Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act had been signed by the US President into law on 22 June 2009. Effective 22 June 2010, tobacco manufacturers are required not to produce any tobacco products labeled or advertised as "light", "low", "mild" or similar descriptors for sale or distribution. Manufacturers may continue to sell the existing products until 21 July 2010. For further information, please visit:
Guidelines for Article 11 of the WHO FCTC also suggest Parties to adopt measures restricting or banning the use of logos, colours, brand images or promotional information on packaging other than brand names and product names displayed in a standard colour and front style (plain packaging). In Australia, the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011 was passed by the Parliament in November 2011. This is the first legislation in the world to mandate all tobacco products sold in Australia to be sold in plain packaging by December 2012. For further information, please visit: