Declarations of the 16th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health, Abu Dhabi, UAE, March 17-21, 2015
The 16th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health (16th WCTOH) recognizes that:
All tobacco products are harmful, that they are a leading cause of disease and death worldwide, that they pose an especially heavy burden on low- and middle-income countries and should be de-normalised worldwide,
Addressing the tobacco epidemic must be an essential priority in the context of reducing the burden of noncommunicable diseases and protection of youth,
Harms caused by tobacco are of a multi-dimensional nature, affecting multiple areas of human sustainable development (environmental, poverty, agricultural and gender related),
The tobacco industry is the vector of the epidemic.
Substantial and regular increases in tobacco excise taxes that raise price and make tobacco less affordable can effectively reduce tobacco consumption and improve public health as well as generate additional revenue that can be applied toward public health objectives.
Tobacco growers are exploited by the tobacco industry and explicit policies are needed in tobacco growing regions to support small farmers to shift from tobacco to livelihoods that are beneficial to health and the environment.
The Framework Convention is an effective tool for tobacco control, but implementation at the national level has fallen short of objectives,
The Conference calls for collaboration and coordination at the local, national, regional, and global levels to fully implement the FCTC and to move tobacco control forward,
The conference calls on the global tobacco community to redouble its efforts and to reach out to additional stakeholders and calls on governments to be held to their commitment, at the World Health Assembly in 2013 and the 6th Session of the FCTC Conference of the Parties in 2014, to reduce tobacco use prevalence by 30% by 2025 through accelerated implementation of the FCTC,
The conference commends jurisdictions including the Australian state of Tasmania that are advancing initiatives to create Tobacco Free Generations for all persons born since the year 2000,
The delegates at WCTOH affirm their support to all countries that have passed or are considering adopting plain packaging or graphic health warnings covering more than 85% including India, Pakistan and Nepal and ask them to stand firm against tobacco industry pressure.
The conference hereby recommends that by 2018:
- All Countries that are not yet Parties to the Convention ratify or accede to the WHO FCTC,
- 40 countries develop and introduce action plans and prioritise policies and interventions to protect children and youth to achieve the goal of No More Tobacco in the 21st century (NMT 21C).
- Going forward governments treat tobacco uniquely in all trade and investment and support one another in excluding tobacco from trade and investment agreements that are under negotiation,
- Tobacco control indicators be included in the proposed Post 2015 sustainable development goals and tobacco be elevated as a development priority at a global level.
- At least 30 countries will have adopted plain packaging and at least 100 countries will have pictorial warnings that cover 50% or more of the principal display areas of tobacco products (Article 11),
- 60 countries include and implement tobacco control in all national health and development plans including the NCD action plans and UN Development Assistance Frameworks.
- The Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products will come into force.
- All new and existing tobacco products be regulated under all tobacco control policy initiatives.
- All Parties establish and finance a multi-sectoral national co-ordinating Mechanism of the WHO FCTC fully firewalled from the tobacco industry (Articles 5.2 and 5.3) and adopt comprehensive measures to prevent tobacco industry interference in public health policies in line with Article 5.3 guidelines.
- At least 15 additional countries will have 70 percent excise tax share in the retail price of tobacco products (Article 6).
- All parties meet their obligations under Article 8 to adopt national legislation mandating smoke free indoor public places and workplaces including bars and restaurants, with no provision for dedicated smoking areas,
- 50 countries restrict or prohibit additives in tobacco products to include menthol and all other flavours (Article 9),
- 60 countries will have implemented a complete ban of all forms of Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship (TAPS), including cross-border forms, Internet, and display of products at points of sale, and in a related matter, plain/standardized packaging for tobacco products (Article 13),
- At least 50% of FCTC Parties will have developed and published an official national tobacco dependence treatment strategy, in accordance with Article 14 Guideline recommendations.
The UN should have concrete plans to convene a high-evel meeting to address this major threat to humanity caused by tobacco use.