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Monday, 21 October, 2002, 04:34 GMT 05:34 UK
World doctors get tough on tobacco
People smoking
Tobacco-related problems are described as an epidemic
Organisations representing 10 million doctors around the world are urging their governments to agree a strong new treaty to curb tobacco use.

Tobacco-related deaths
560 people every hour
13,400 people a day
4.9 million a year
Source: WHO
The doctors, which are from 117 countries, are calling for governments around the world to increase taxes on tobacco, ban all cigarette advertising and to outlaw misleading claims that some cigarettes are relatively safe.

According to the World Medical Association, the measures are required to cut the 4.9 million deaths a year from smoking-related diseases.

The doctors' demands are being presented in Geneva to the World Health Organisation (WHO) which is currently negotiating the first international public health treaty on tobacco control.

The convention is due to be agreed by the WHO's 192 member countries by May next year.

'Life-shattering effects'

The increasing health problems related to smoking, particularly in developing countries, where the tobacco trade is largely unregulated, is described by doctors as an epidemic.

"Physicians see on a daily basis the life-shattering effects of tobacco use for those who smoke and those who inhale the tobacco of others," said WMA Secretary-General Dr Delon Human.

Doctors, he added, should stand together "to prevent this epidemic", he added.

The doctors' manifesto is calling for:

  • A "clear, informative health warning" on every packet of tobacco

  • An end to "misleading claims" that some cigarettes are safer than others

  • Protection from smoke for non-smokers

  • A ban on cigarette advertising.

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World Medical Association's Dr Delon Human
"There is evidence to suggest that advertising increases tobacco consumption"
See also:

14 Oct 02 | Health
20 Feb 01 | Business
09 Aug 00 | Health
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