Table of Contents

Research Handbook on Environment, Health and the WTO

Research Handbook on Environment, Health and the WTO

Research Handbooks on the WTO series

Edited by Geert Van Calster and Denise Prévost

This Handbook provides state-of-the-art analysis by leading authors on the links between the international trade regime and health and environment concerns – concerns that make up an increasing proportion of WTO dispute settlement. Research Handbook on Environment, Health and the WTO surveys fields as diverse as climate change mitigation, non-communicable diseases, nanotechnology and public health care. The volume brings to the fore the debates and complexities surrounding these issues and their implications for the international trading system.

Chapter 13: WTO law and risk factors for noncommunicable diseases: a complex relationship

Tania Voon

Subjects: environment, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law, health law, international economic law, trade law


Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) – principally cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes – cause 60 per cent of all deaths in the world, with 80 per cent of deaths due to NCDs occurring in low-income and middle-income countries. The major common risk factors for NCDs are tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity. The World Health Organization (WHO) and other United Nations (UN) bodies are increasingly recognizing NCDs and their associated risk factors as a problem requiring urgent attention. In 2005, the WHO Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC) entered into force; at the time of writing it has 176 parties. In April 2008, the WHO’s decision-making body, the World Health Assembly (WHA), adopted a resolution endorsing the 2008–2013 Action Plan for the Global Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases.

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