Chapter 12: The global tobacco epidemic and the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control—the contributions of the WHO’s first convention to global health law and governance
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The global tobacco epidemic kills seven million people annually, and has rapidly spread over the past five decades, with 80% of tobacco-related deaths now occurring in low and middle-income countries. Alarmed by the scale and globalisation of the epidemic, in 1996, World Health Organization (WHO) member states invoked the WHO’s treaty-making powers under article 19 of its Constitution for the first, and so far only, time, adopting the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in 2003. This chapter assesses the significance of the WHO FCTC for both global health and international law, focusing on its creation; the normative regime developed by its governing body; its place in broader sustainable development and non-communicable diseases agendas; its achievements and ongoing challenges; and its interactions with other bodies of law, including human rights law, international trade and investment law, and regional and domestic protections for commercial rights and interests.

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