Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)

Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is a treaty, an agreement under international law, adopted in May 2003 by the 56th World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO. This was the first global public health treaty adopted by the WHO. The FCTC treaty entered into force from February 2005, legally binding 181 ratifying countries as of 2019. This agreement is one of the most quickly authenticated treaties in the United Nations history, highlighting its importance in protecting the present and future generations from the destructive health, social and economic consequences due to the tobacco burden. Sri Lanka was the first Asian country to ratify the FCTC and 4th in the world.

FCTC was adopted as an answer to the globalization of the tobacco epidemic. The expansion of the tobacco epidemic increased due to factors beyond the control of a single country; such as trade liberalization, direct foreign investments, global marketing, transnational tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship and international movement of contraband and counterfeit cigarettes

Article 5.3

A very important key article in the FCTC is Article 5.3; perhaps the most important article in FCTC Article 5.3 requires Parties to protect their public health policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry. Article 5.3 obligations apply to officials, representatives, and employees of any government body that contributes or could contribute to developing or implementing public health policies related to tobacco control. Article 5.3 Guidelines urge countries, which are called Parties in the FCTC, to implement measures in order to protect their public health policies against tobacco industry. Some of such measures are:

  • Governments should reject partnerships and agreements with the tobacco industry.
  • Governments should reject any assistance in tobacco control legislation or policy from the tobacco industry.
  • Governments should prohibit tobacco industry involvement in any youth, public education, or other tobacco control initiatives.
  • Governments should prevent tobacco-related conflicts of interest for government bodies, officials, and employees.
  • Governments should deformalize and regulate purported “socially responsible” activities carried out by the tobacco industry.
  • Governments should prohibit incentives, privileges, benefits or exemptions for the tobacco industry. It was decided that to assist countries to implement Article 5.3 by establishing Centres called Tobacco Industry Observatories.

Related links

FCTC main document apps.who.int.

Article 5.3 and its implementation www.who.int

FCTC links from the tobaccounmasked website