The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control was endorsed by the World Health Assembly in May 2003 and came into effect as an international treaty in February 2005.
The FCTC is now international law binding those countries that have ratified it which include New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Samoa.
In 2009, the current global FCTC status is 168 signatories and 164 parties.
As one of the world's leading tobacco groups, British American Tobacco has offered its views on the Framework Convention over several years, although, regrettably, it was afforded little opportunity to make meaningful input on its formation.
Tobacco is harmful to health and British American Tobacco has long recognised the right of national governments to regulate it.
The FCTC will now provide countries that ratify it with a global policy framework for addressing tobacco issues locally. Governments will over time consider updating their local legislation, reflecting their interpretation of the FCTC and their own circumstances and priorities.
We welcome the fact that the FCTC recognises that national circumstances and national constitutions have to be respected in this process. We have long believed that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to tobacco issues. Each country is different, and practical solutions for reducing the health impact of tobacco consumption can vary widely. We look forward to working with governments and other interested parties to find balanced regulatory solutions.
British American Tobacco will continue to offer balance by putting its views forward openly and constructively. The Group supports sound and fair tobacco regulation that can reduce the public health impact of tobacco consumption, can tackle under age smoking, and can also ensure that adult consumers are allowed to continue making informed choices about a legal product.
It believes that there is much to be gained by including the responsible tobacco industry in the regulatory process and, therefore, calls on all parties to recognise that the tobacco industry is a significant stakeholder with considerable knowledge and expertise. It can help to ensure that legislative proposals are driven by transparent policy objectives, and are proportionate to the objectives that governments seek.