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Thursday, 22 November, 2001, 13:21 GMT
WHO seeks tobacco-free sports
Panel showing estimated tobacco related deaths since 25 October 1999 at the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in Geneva
Four million annual deaths are linked to tobacco use
By the BBC's Emma Jane Kirby in Geneva

The World Health Organisation has teamed up with leading sports organisations and international athletes to launch a global campaign to keep tobacco advertising away from sport.

WHO's head, Gro Harlem Brundtland, joined football's governing body, Fifa, and sports stars from Norway, Cameroon, the United States and Italy to launch the new anti-smoking campaign aimed at the world's youth.

WHO Director General Gro Harlem Brundtland
Brundtland teamed up with prominent sports stars and Fifa
The WHO claims that tobacco companies spend billions of dollars each year in using sports to promote their products, and the organisation wants to ban tobacco advertising as well as smoking in sports stadiums.

The campaign comes as 191 governments meet in Geneva to negotiate an international treaty designed to be the first legally enforceable global agreement on tobacco

Treaty meeting

Member states of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control are addressing all issues from advertising to taxation and smuggling.

However negotiations on the treaty, which is due to be signed in 2003, have been slow.

Earlier this year, anti-tobacco groups accused the US, which objected to severe advertising restrictions, of pandering to the tobacco companies and trying to water down the treaty.

The WHO estimates that some four million deaths annually are linked to tobacco use.

See also:

20 Nov 01 | Asia-Pacific
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20 Nov 01 | Asia-Pacific
N Korea healthcare 'near collapse'
07 Apr 01 | Health
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