Smoke alarm

Published: Saturday 31 May 2003

sidestepping health concerns, the us government has asked other nations to support the reopening of negotiations on the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (fctc). The treaty aims to curb tobacco menace.

The draft prepared in March 2003, is likely to be finalised soon at the World Health Assembly in Geneva. According to Judith P Wilkenfeld from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Washington, reopening the negotiations would delay the entire process. The draft has been prepared after discussions for about four years.

The us government contends that the treaty puts restrictions on advertising and marketing of tobacco products. This, it says, takes away the tobacco companies' freedom of speech. The us wants to opt out of the individual clauses in the treaty, which would allow the pact to be renegotiated on a country-to-country basis.

Experts feel that the us is acting under the influence of the tobacco industry, which gives huge donations during elections. The industry is said to have donated more than us $8.6 million to election campaigns in 2000.

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