In a symbolic milestone, Brazil has become the 100th Party to the United Nations global convention to curb tobacco use, which currently causes 5 million mainly preventable deaths and a net loss of $200 billion in treatment and lost productivity each year.
Brazil deposited its instrument of ratification late last week to the UN World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), which requires Parties to restrict tobacco advertising, sponsorship and promotion, set new labelling and indoor air standards, and strengthen laws against tobacco smuggling.
Although Brazil’s action has no legal ramifications, since the pact entered into force last February after ratification by 40 countries, it is regarded as significant, in particular given the fact that it was adopted a mere two and a half years ago.
“Tobacco is still the leading preventable cause of death in the world, killing nearly 5 million people every year,” WHO Director-General Lee Jong-wook said in a message. “If current trends continue, this toll will double by 2020. Developing countries will suffer the highest burden with 70 per cent of the deaths.
“The success of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control demonstrates that governments are determined to curb tobacco use and its impact on people's health,” he added.
Parties to the treaty are bound to translate its general provisions into national laws and regulations. They have, for example, three years to ensure that tobacco packaging has strong health warnings, and five years to establish comprehensive advertising, promotion and sponsorship bans.