US under attack over tobacco

The United States government is coming under increasing attack from health campaigners for its failure to ratify the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, to which it is a signatory. The US supported the adoption of the treaty in May 2003 and former Health Secretary Tommy Thompson signed the treaty on behalf of the Bush Administration in May 2004 but the Bush Administration has made no efforts to ratify the treaty. There was a deadline yesterday by which those wanting to be part of the Conference of Parties in February 2006 had to have signed the treaty. This resulted in 10 more ratifications, including Portugal, Ireland, the United Arab Emirates and Bulgaria. The Conference of Parties will set the policy for international tobacco control for the years ahead.

"Our government is prioritizing Big Tobacco's profits over people's lives and international cooperation," says anti-tobacco campaigner Kathryn Mulvey. "The Bush Administration is passing on one of the most pressing public health and corporate accountability agreements of our time."

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