WCTOH 2012 Declarations

15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health Declaration

Singapore, 20-24 March 2012

We, the delegates of the 15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health recognise that tobacco in all its forms is a global health catastrophe causing 6 million deaths annually, untold suffering, and costing many billions of dollars each year:

  1. Tobacco use is the leading preventable risk factor for non-communicable disease which, if left unattended, will cost USD7 trillion between 2010 and 2025 just in low- and middle-income countries.
  2. The World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), its guidelines and protocols, constitute the best basis for policy and action in all countries.
  3. Increased Tobacco Control efforts are essential to improve the  quality of life, enhance human development, and reduce the social, environmental, economic, and healthcare burden.
  4. Comprehensive collaboration and co-ordination at the global, regional, and national levels between Tobacco Control communities as well as sectors outside health are essential to move Tobacco Control efforts forward.
  5. The Tobacco Industry operates on a global scale, promotes Tobacco products through all possible means, continues to develop new Tobacco products and obstructs effective Tobacco Control measures, consistently abusing governmental and international policies on Agriculture, Manufacturing, Trade, Commerce and Taxation.
  6. Regularly updated country-specific economic data are required to counter the disinformation of the Tobacco Industry.
  7. Young people are targets of the Tobacco Industry and therefore must be empowered to play a vital role in Tobacco Control.

We hereby recommend that, by 2015:

      1. All governments incorporate Tobacco Control as a core item in the country's NCD action plans, with a consistent and integrated whole-of-government approach to Tobacco Control.
      2. Consistent with the commitments agreed to by the United Nations (UN) Member States in the Political Declaration of the High Level Meeting on Non-communicable Diseases, Tobacco Control be incorporated into the development agenda at the national and global level, including the follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), UN development indicators and the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF).
      3. Public Health protection clauses be included in all new  or re-negotiated trade and investment Agreements and Treaties. Tobacco to be explicitly excluded from such Agreements and Treaties.
      4. All Governments adopt targets and a comprehensive monitoring/surveillance framework for the reduced prevalence of Tobacco use in keeping with the recommendations from WHO. Recommendations 5 to 11 refer to the Articles in the WHO FCTC:
      5. Universal Ratification and Implementation of the WHO FCTC.
      6. Articles 5.2 & 5.3:All parties to establish a National Co-ordinating Mechanism of the WHO FCTC which is fully firewalled from the Tobacco Industry. At least 50 parties adopt comprehensive measures to prevent Tobacco Industry interference in Public Health Policies in line with Article 5.3 Guidelines.
      7. Article 6 (Price and Tax Measures): At least 50 countries raise Tobacco taxes to a minimum of 75% of the retail price so as to reduce affordability.
      8. At least 40 countries dedicate a portion of their tobacco taxes to fund the implementation of the WHO FCTC, tobacco control and health promotion in accordance with Article 26(2).
      9. Article 8 (Protection from Exposure to Tobacco Smoke):
        At least 50 countries introduce National Legislation, mandating 100% smoke-free indoor public places and workplaces including bars and restaurants, with no provision for designated smoking rooms.
      10. Article 11 (Packaging and Labelling of Tobacco Products):
        At least 100 countries introduce pictorial warnings that cover 50% or more of the principal display areas of Tobacco packages.
        At least 20 countries introduce plain packaging. All countries remove misleading descriptors.
      11. Article 13 (Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship):
        At least 100 countries implement a comprehensive ban on Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, including a ban on display of products at point of sale, ban on internet sale and promotion of Tobacco products, and measures to address Tobacco imagery in films.
      12. All countries include specifics on Tobacco consumption in their  reports to the Committee for the Convention of All Forms of  Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), to the Committee on the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) and to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) which are cited in the preamble of the WHO FCTC.

In addition, the Conference resolves to strongly:

Oppose any weakening of existing legislation on Tobacco Control.

Support the call of Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the WHO, to "stand shoulder to shoulder" with Australia against the Tobacco Industry's attempts to overturn Australia's new path-breaking Tobacco Control Law on plain packaging.

Urge all countries (both parties and non-parties to the WHO FCTC) to immediately withdraw their unsubstantiated challenges to Australia’s Plain Packaging Law.