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Tobacco control convention to work on protocol combating illicit tobacco trade
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13:51, July 07, 2007

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A total of 146 parties to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) concluded in Bangkok a 7-day conference Friday.

President of the Conference Juan Martabit expressed satisfaction on the productive results produced throughout the conference, which opened in Bangkok last Saturday.

In one of the two key resolutions passed during the conference, the parties unanimously adopted guidelines on protection from second-hand tobacco smoke by stipulating 100 percent smoke-free internal workplaces and public places and public transportation means.

The guidelines have been drawn up by an expert group in line with the Article 8 in the FCTC after the first session of the FCTC Conference held in February, 2006 in Geneva. The guidelines, after adoption, provides concrete advices to national and local governments all around the world to build up or promote smoke-free environment in their domain.

Dr. Douglas Bettcher, head of the WHO Tobacco Free Initiative, emphasized that there was no safe level of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke, and only 100 percent smoke-free environment could protect people from tobacco smoke, which kills millions of lives every year.

The parties have also agreed to begin negotiation, tentatively no later than next March, to work out a new protocol on combating illicit trade of tobacco products.

Most recent data offered by Framework Convention Alliance estimated that the global illicit cigarette trade accounted for 10. 7 percent of total sales, or 600 billion cigarettes out of the estimated 5,767 billion cigarettes sold in 2006. It costs a loss to government revenue of 40 billion to 50 billion U.S. dollars in lost tax revenues last year.

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