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  • Nations Making Gains in Reducing Tobacco Use, Says WHO

    Celebrated every year on May 31, World No Tobacco Day informs the public about the dangers of tobacco use, the business practices of tobacco companies, what the World Health Organization (WHO) is doing to fight the tobacco epidemic, and what people can do to claim their right to health and healthy living and to protect future generations.

    WHO's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), adopted by the World Health Assembly in 2003, includes 172 countries and the European Union that are obliged to:

    • protect people from exposure to tobacco smoke;
    • ban tobacco advertising and sales to minors;
    • put large health warnings on packages of tobacco;
    • ban or limit additives to tobacco products;
    • increase tobacco taxes; and
    • create a national coordinating mechanism for tobacco control.

    According to WHO, many countries have made "tremendous strides" in implementing FCTC's treaty. For example, Uruguay requires health warnings that cover 80% of the surface of tobacco packages; Australia is in the process of requiring all tobacco products to be in plain, unbranded packs; and Ireland in 2004 banned smoking in public places.

    Fact sheets on tobacco use and tuberculosis and tobacco are available from WHO, along with a publication on gender, women, and the tobacco epidemic.

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