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8. Conference of Parties of the WHO Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC)

Eight Conference of Parties of the WHO Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) was held 1 – 6 October 2018 in Geneva with more than 1200 participants from 148 parties represented.

At the opening ceremony Director-General of the World Health Organization Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and Chief of Staff of the United Nations office of Geneva Mr. David A. Chikvaidze addressed the Conference, as well as the Head of the Dr.  Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva.

During the six-day COP8 participants discusses all topics in the agenda. One of the most important results was the adoption of the Medium-Term Strategic Framework, also known as the Global Strategy to Accelerate Tobacco Control that aims to strengthen implementation of the FCTC, with a roadmap to guide the Parties in tobacco control from 2019 to 2025.

Substantial effort was made to maximize the transparency and protect FCTC sessions from intrusion of tobacco industry representatives and interests. Commitment to prevent further interference by tobacco industry in public health policies, in line with Article 5.3, was renewed. One more claim by tobacco industry that COP is against farmers that grow tobacco was refuted. Quite the opposite, support for finding and financing sustainable alternative livelihoods for farmers in line with Article 17 was expressed with the aim to free farmers from unfair tobacco industry practice.

During the Conference Global Progress Report 2018 on the implementation of the FCTC was presented. Since 2007 more and more countries have implemented different tobacco control measures, however, this increase is uneven and is in the range from 13% to 88%. However, over 60% of the world population was now covered by one of the six packages of MPOWER tobacco control measures

Most countries have laws that ban smoking on all public and workplaces, regulate labeling and packaging and ban advertising and sponsorships by tobacco industry. Almost all countries adopted legislation for health warnings on tobacco products, and 118 of them, require large pictorial health warnings, as was stated in the recently published Cigarette Package Health Warnings by Canadian Cancer Society. Many countries introduced plain packages of tobacco products or are planning to do that in the future.

Another important topic was the need for tobacco control efforts to integrate strategies to combat the destructive impacts of tobacco on the environment and sustainable development. The significant time was devoted discussing e-cigarettes and new „heated tobacco products“.

During the COP8 a significant number of publications were launched, among them those related to gender responsive tobacco control, integration of tobacco control into tuberculosis and HIV, development of national coordinating mechanisms in tobacco control etc.

After the COP8 was closed the First Meeting of the of Parties (MOP1) to the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade of Tobacco Products had started and was held 8 – 10 October 2018 in Geneva. To date, the Protocol has 48 parties and entered into force on 25 September 2018.

More data can be found on the Framework Convention Alliance.

Next COP9 will be held in the Netherlands in 2020.