Britain ratifies anti-tobacco treaty

The British Department of Health has issued a statement saying that the United Kingdom has become the latest country to ratify the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control - the first global health treaty. This commits the government to enact strict tobacco control measures. The convention will become interantional law on February 28 2005. The treaty binds the nations involved to enact comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, ban the use of misleading terms such as "light" and "mild" and to increase tobacco taxation. Campaigners are already asking the Secretary of State for Health what planning mechanisms will be put in place to ensure the UK complies with the requirements. The announcement was hidden away in a statement about a reduction in the number of smokers in the UK.

"On the same day as these statistics were published," the release says, "the UK ratified the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. This is the first international treaty on public health and has the potential to make a real difference in tobacco control at a global level."

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