Increasing the number of countries mandating uniform packaging for tobacco products and that tax those products at 70 per cent of retail price are among goals set at a recently concluded anti-tobacco conference.
“All tobacco products are harmful”, begins the declaration concluding the 16th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) held in Abu Dhabi from 17-21 March. “The tobacco industry is the vector of the epidemic.”
Fourteen recommendations for implementation by 2018 include increasing the number of plain-packaging countries to at least 30. Currently only Australia has implemented a law, although measures have been approved by parliaments in Ireland and the United Kingdom. At least 15 additional countries should adopt 70 per cent excise taxes on tobacco products and 60 countries prohibit all forms of tobacco advertising. The declaration calls for bans on characterising flavours, including menthol, in 50 countries.
Full ratification of the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and adoption of smoking bans in public places are part of the recommendations.