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    292975

    The long and winding road towards a tobacco-free world [editorial]

    Lancet. 2005 Nov 5; 366(9497):1586.

    Next week, on Nov 8, an important deadline for ratifying the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) approaches. Any country that has not ratified the convention by then will not become a full party to its governing body, which will meet for the first time at the Conference of the Parties in Geneva, Feb 6–17, next year. At that meeting parties will take decisions on technical, procedural, and financial issues relating to the implementation of the convention. The FCTC has been rightly hailed as a milestone for the promotion of public health worldwide and WHO can be proud of its achievement. So far, 94 countries have ratified the FCTC, 41 of these in 2005, with China, Rwanda, Nigeria, Cyprus, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo becoming the latest nations to do so this October. China, with the world’s largest cigarette market and with an estimated 350 million smokers, is a particularly important signatory. By ratifying the FCTC, China has taken an important and welcome step to protect its people’s health. Rapid economic changes make China’s large population especially vulnerable to a future epidemic of chronic diseases. (excerpt)
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