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Health Groups Urge Restrictions On Tobacco Additives

Following five days of deliberations aimed at “fleshing-out the so-called Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC),” delegates on Saturday “approved a proposal to limit the use of tobacco additives, which critics say improve the flavor of cigarettes, encouraging consumers to smoke more,” Reuters reports (Fleitas, 11/20).

The country representatives that support the WHO FCTC “unanimously adopted the measures at the 4th session of the conference of the parties to the convention which ended [Saturday] in Punta Del Este, Uruguay,” U.N. News Centre writes. “The conference is the governing body of the WHO FCTC and, as of this month, is comprised of 171 parties to the convention. The WHO FCTC is the first international treaty negotiated under the auspices of WHO and provides a new legal dimension for international health cooperation,” the news service writes (11/21).

“Developing detailed guidelines for how governments should regulate aromatic and flavor additives that make otherwise harsh-tasting cigarettes more palatable has been a major goal since the treaty went into effect five years ago,” the Associated Press writes in a piece that highlights several agreements reached by the countries that have signed the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. “Articles 9 and 10 now provide a road map any country can use to establish its own regulations,” according to the news service. The article includes comments by a spokesman from the convention and a toxicologist who the news service writes “advised the convention’s secretariat on the guidelines” (Garces/Warren, 11/19).

“At the meeting, the signatories … agreed to link the controls to broader economic development issues, said event president Thamsanqa Dennis Mseleku of South Africa,” Agence France-Presse reports. The countries “agreed to integrate smoking cessation programs into national health systems, and support programs aimed at educating people about the health risks of smoking, the WHO said in a statement.” The article includes comments by officials at the meeting, health officials and a representative from the International Tobacco Grower’s Association (Magarinos, 11/21).

Delegates were unable to reach a consensus on such matters as “tougher taxes for tobacco products, alternative crops for tobacco farmers, and the regulation of smokeless electronic cigarettes, which provide vaporized puffs of nicotine,” Reuters notes (11/20). Tobacco taxes “will be discussed again at the next Conference of the Parties to be held in South Korea in the latter half of 2012, the sources said,” Kyodo News/Japan Today reports (11/21).