Communications News: Ash puts pressure on Blair to sign up to 'tobacco treaty'

Anti-smoking charity Ash wrote to Tony Blair last week to urge the Government to ratify the first global tobacco treaty.

The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control contains a raft of measures to help countries reduce their tobacco consumption.

Last week, Peru became the 40th country to sign the treaty, which was initiated by the World Health Organisation in 1998. Now that the treaty has been ratified by 40 countries, it will become international law by 1 March.

The framework obliges countries to commit to smoke-free public spaces and workplaces; enact a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, marketing and promotion; place large, graphic warnings on cigarette packs; ban the use of misleading descriptions such as 'light', 'low-tar' and 'mild'; and to significantly raise taxation on tobacco.

"We call on the UK Government to immediately ratify the framework," said Deborah Arnott, director of Ash. "Ratification and implementation of the treaty are critical to reducing the death and disease caused by tobacco in the UK. Delaying ratification only serves the interests of the tobacco industry."

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