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China ratifies FCTC

29 Aug 2005. China's top legislature has ratified the World Health Organisationís Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

Once China's ratification is complete, 65 per cent of the world's population will live in states that have ratified the global tobacco treaty. China is expected to finalise ratification by November, the deadline to participate in the treaty's first enforcement meeting early next year.

The Chinese government estimates that there are 350 million smokers in the country. About 60 per cent of Chinese men and 3 per cent of women smoke. It also appears that the number of children and young female smokers may be increasing significantly.

China must now register its ratification with the United Nations in New York before ratification is officially recognised. Ninety days after the ratification is accepted by the United Nations, the convention becomes binding international law for China.

Among its provisions, the treaty requires China to ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship on radio, television, print media and the Internet within five years. It also prohibits tobacco-company sponsorship of international events and activities. Chinese state media reported that China is to ban all tobacco-vending machines, including in self- administered Hong Kong and Macao.

China, like the US, who have signed but not ratified the FCTC yet, opposed some of the global tobacco treaty's most important measures during the negotiating process. (pi)