The Tobacco Convention is like a toolbox with a variety of tobacco control measures based on research and experience. It is an important support for politicians aiming at influencing tobacco policy and politics.
The full name of the Tobacco Convention is the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The Parties to the Convention agree on the objective of the Convention and on a framework for the actions and strategies to be implemented to achieve the objective. The articles of the Convention leave a great amount of freedom for the member countries to make tobacco control laws and efforts to address tobacco use in a way that suits the country’s conditions.
The Convention contains 38 articles
Many of these also include guidelines that describe in more detail how tobacco control measures should be implemented according to research and experience. The articles deal with, among other things, the means of helping people to get out of the habit of using tobacco, health warnings, tax and pricing policies that result in high and rising tobacco prices, regulation of tobacco products’ content, laws on smoke-free environments, and bans on marketing.
The Tobacco Convention entered into force 2005 and was ratified by Sweden the same year. In spring 2021, 168 countries had signed it. This means that the convention affects 90 percent of the world’s population.
The Tobacco Convention has changed many politicians’ and decisionmaker´s attitude towards tobacco issues. In the past, tobacco use was often seen as the result of bad choices by individuals and the social discussion focused on how to change tobacco users’ way of life. The Tobacco Convention has clarified that the tobacco issue is, above all, a political issue. The focus has shifted to society’s responsibility to make it easier for citizens to be tobacco free. The Tobacco Convention also clearly highlights the tobacco industry’s – often secret – strategies for influencing tobacco policy. Strategies that aim at preventing tobacco use in the world from falling.
Tobacco threatens sustainable development
Thanks to the Tobacco Convention, the tobacco issue has gained a more prominent place in the international work on global health, sustainable development, and human rights. For example, all the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in the 2030 Agenda have a relation to tobacco control. This is because tobacco use and production lead to enormous damage to people and the environment, cause huge social costs and thus hinder social, economic, and environmentally sustainable development.
Tobacco Convention and the Rights of the Child
As regards the rights of the child, the Tobacco Convention and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child have the same views. The aim of the Tobacco Convention is to protect ”present and future generations” from tobacco harm and the Convention on the Rights of the Child stipulates that countries must acknowledge the right of the child to enjoy the best attainable health. Society has a responsibility to protect children from the tobacco industry’s attempts to recruit them as future tobacco consumers.