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General News Fri, 15 Jan 1999

World health body welcomes British move on Tobacco

Accra (Greater Accra), 15 Jan '99 - The World Health Organization (WHO) said today it welcomes the British Government's pledge to work with others towards a global ban on tobacco advertising. A release issued in Accra today, quoted Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General of the Organisation, as saying that he welcomes the British government's Tobacco White Paper which shows tremendous support for "our initiative against tobacco". Entitled "Smoking Kills", the white paper which is a major policy document issued in London in December last year, recommends the introduction of global tobacco marketing standards. It also pledges support for the WHO's long term mission to decrease tobacco consumption and calls for a world-wide action for a total ban on tobacco advertising. The paper which criticises the European Union's present common policy on tobacco growing which results in export to countries outside the EU, further urges "an increase in the funding of the community Tobacco Fund". The fund supports research into the effects of smoking and alternative ways for tobacco farmers to make a living. WHO estimates that there are currently 3.5 million deaths a year from tobacco, a figure which is expected to rise to 10 million by 2030. It said 70 per cent of the deaths will occur in developing countries, where the tobacco industry is increasingly targeting children and adolescents. WHO's Tobacco-Free Initiative launched by Dr Brundtland in July 1998 aims to promote effective policies and interventions to reduce tobacco consumption and the burden of disease. The organisation is also promoting the development of an effective International Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (IFC).

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