Big Tobacco Remains a Threat to Global Health, WHO Says

“If Big Tobacco is in retreat in some parts of the world, it is on the march in others,” says Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Reuters reported Feb. 26 that WHO officials — marking the fifth anniversary of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control — said that multinational tobacco companies are targeting poor people and women. “As we all know, the tobacco industry is ruthless, devious, rich and powerful,” Chan said.

WHO said that enforcement of the Convention — the world’s first international public-health treaty — has been uneven, with only 5 percent of the global population protected by smoke-free spaces laws, for example. Minorities of nations control tobacco advertising or have imposed tobacco taxes exceeding 75 percent of retail cigarette prices, officials said.

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