Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Barbados bid to comply with Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

Barbados, with a smoking ban due to be implemented on 1 October, is also introducing other tobacco control measures in a bid to comply with the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: the measures include doubling the import duty, eliminating duty free concessions and moves towards pictorial warnings on cigarette packaging.

The person announcing Barbados's eagerness to comply with this international diktat is Dr Kenneth George, Senior Medical Officer of Health with responsibility for chronic non-communicable diseases.
According to Dr. George, the FCTC is the first negotiated public health treaty under the auspices of the World Health Organisation. This treaty is evidence-based and commits to the highest standards of health care.
Now it actually strikes me as astonishing that the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control should have been the 'first negotiated public health treaty under the auspices of the World Health Organisation'. Why are 'non-communicable diseases' considered a higher priority than communicable diseases, for example ... surely communicable diseases are more likely to strike people early in their lives, and be altogether more problematic than non-communicable diseases.

How can a focus on non-communicable diseases be understood as a commitment to the 'highest standards of health care?

There may be instances where international obligations justifiably over-ride national democratic processes, but the WHO FCTC is not one of them. In this paper, delivered at the 2010 conference of TICAP, international tobacco scholar Kamal Chaouachi called on countries to break away from this treaty (he starts by explaining that he was warned that by addressing the conference he would identify himself as pro-tobacco, and his career would be irrevocably damaged).

Back to Barbados. As anywhere, doubts are expressed about whether a smoking ban is good legislation ...

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Why do these countries, like the UK, go that extra mile where smoking is concerned?

They make no sense whatsoever!