The World Health Assembly adopted the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in 2003; 10 years later, the WHO European Region is still facing increasing inequalities between and within countries. Although some countries have achieved historically low rates of tobacco use, the Region as a whole has the highest prevalence of smoking in the world.
In absolute terms, the European Region has the highest number of States Parties to the WHO FCTC. Many countries have taken exemplary action to control tobacco through policies that support, for example, price increases, advertising bans, smoke-free public places and pictorial health warnings on packaging. Such action is already reaping dividends: measurable improvements in health. Yet the Region is a long way from the fundamental goal of full implementation of WHO FCTC.
The Conference will pose several questions.
- Can Europe aim for stronger implementation of the WHO FCTC?
- How is evidence linked to policies?
- Are mechanisms for accountability and monitoring in place?
- Can the Region consider setting a target for an eventual tobacco-free Europe?
- Is Europe committed to pushing back against increasing interference by the tobacco industry?