The United Nations health agency will no longer hire smokers in compliance with its campaign to curb tobacco use, which currently causes 5 million mainly preventable deaths and a net loss of $200 billion in treatment and lost productivity every year.
The decision by the World Health Organization (WHO) has been motivated by matters of principle, since the Agency cannot ask its Member States to respect the International Anti-Tobacco Treaty and not apply it to its own personnel, spokesperson Fadela Chaib told a news briefing in Geneva today.
Current employees who are smokers are encouraged to stop smoking. The WHO application form includes a question as to whether the applicant is a smoker and whether they will stop smoking. The WHO will not, however, investigate its employees to discover whether they are smokers, Ms. Chaib said.
The Agency's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) requires Parties to restrict tobacco advertising, sponsorship and promotion, set new labelling and indoor air standards, and strengthen laws against tobacco smuggling.