The Global Tobacco Epidemic and the Law

The Global Tobacco Epidemic and the Law

Edited by Andrew D. Mitchell and Tania Voon

Tobacco use represents a critical global health challenge. The World Health Organization estimates that tobacco kills nearly 6 million people a year, with the toll expected to rise to 8 million annually over the next two decades. Written by health and legal experts from institutions around the globe, The Global Tobacco Epidemic and the Law examines the key areas of domestic and international law affecting the regulation of tobacco.

Chapter 4: The power of the WHO FCTC: understanding its legal status and weight

Jonathan Liberman

Subjects: law - academic, health law, international economic law, trade law, international investment law


On 27 February 2015, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) will mark ten years since its entry into force. By that time, it will have at least 177 parties – the number of parties as at the date of writing this chapter. The governing body of the WHO FCTC, the Conference of the Parties (COP), will have met six times, its sixth session scheduled to be held in Moscow, Russian Federation in October 2014, following sessions in Geneva, Switzerland (2006), Bangkok, Thailand (2007), Durban, South Africa (2008), Punta del Este, Uruguay (2010), and Seoul, South Korea (2012).As well as being times of celebration, major anniversaries can be occasions for reflection, the learning of lessons, and of recommitment, with the integration of lessons learned into future plans and activities. The COP recognised this at its fifth session, noting the upcoming ten-year anniversary, and acknowledging the need ‘to examine the impact of the Convention as a tool in promoting public health in general and tobacco prevention in particular’ and ‘to conduct … an overall assessment and analysis of the long-term trends in prevalence of tobacco use, as well as implementation levels of comprehensive tobacco control legislation, policies and programmes’. It requested the Convention Secretariat to prepare a report outlining options for conducting an impact assessment of the treaty after ten years of operation. That report will be discussed at the upcoming COP session in Moscow.

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