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'Smoke-free' in 146 countries

6th July 2007

A group of 146 countries under the aegis of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has agreed to adopt a set of guidelines which stipulate 100% smoke-free public places and workplaces.


A meeting in Bangkok of the parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control voted unanimously to support the new rules, which are not legally binding, WHO said in a statement.

The meeting adopted guidelines on protection from exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke. The guidelines, which were adopted unanimously on the Conference's second day, give national and local governments clear direction to establish smoke-free environments.

“Sound science proves there is no safe level of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke,? said Douglas Bettcher, Head of the WHO Tobacco Free Initiative.

“We are working harder than ever with governments, civil society and other public health experts to denormalize tobacco, and smoke-free environments are one of the key measures to bring about this major shift in social norms to save millions of lives in coming decades.?

The guidelines state that half-way measures such as designated smoking areas, air filtration or ventilation do not work.

"These guidelines are important to counteract some of the industry myths," Bettcher said.

"The tobacco industry knows that if you ban smoking entirely in public places and work places it will encourage smokers to reduce their consumption and encourage them to quit. It also reduces the chances that people will initiate the habit."

"The industry says second-hand smoke is a nuisance. It's not a nuisance. It's deadly. It's lethal. It's a Class A carcinogen," Bettcher told reporters.

The guidelines do not apply in the United States, Russia or Indonesia, three countries that are not members of the WHO's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

But the parties to the convention hope they will set a gold standard for a definition of "smoke-free", against which other countries will be judged.

Haik Nikogosian, Head of the Convention Secretariat said the group would work to combat the complex threats tobacco poses to human health, especially targeting, through international law, illicit trading in tobacco products.


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christine Frost

Thursday 12th July 2007 @ 19:16

The sale of tobacco like alcohol is legal in this country. No one is telling us where we should drink are they? Saving millions of lives I very much doubt it. Alcohol is no replacement; that too costs lives.

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Article Information

Title: 'Smoke-free' in 146 countries
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 3387
Date Added: 6th Jul 2007


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World Health Organisation

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