Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)

The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is one of the key drivers of the tobacco control regulation globally. It is the first international treaty in the field of public health, which was adopted by the Member States of the World Health Organization in May 2003, and entered into force in 2005. To date, 180 countries ratified the treaty. 

The FCTC attempts to provide a comprehensive framework for tobacco control regulation with the objective of reducing smoking initiation and increasing smoking cessation. 

The treaty's provisions seek to reduce the demand for and supply of tobacco products, and cover all aspects of tobacco regulation including advertising and promotion, packaging and labeling, product content and disclosure, pricing and taxation, illicit trade and smoking cessation. 

The FCTC requires that ratifying countries establish and implement effective tobacco control programs in accordance with national law, while taking into consideration local culture, as well as social, economic, and political factors.

The Conference of the Parties (COP) is the key decision-making body on all matters related to the WHO FCTC. It consists of the Parties that ratified the WHO FCTC. COP meets every two years to discuss global progress on the implementation of the FCTC and to adopt new guidelines and policy recommendations aimed to clarify or further elaborate on the ways for the implementation of certain articles of the FCTC at national level.

COP can also adopt the protocols, and amendments to the Convention, and may establish subsidiary bodies, such as Intergovernmental Negotiating Bodies (INBs), to facilitate the international negotiation on the complex technical matters in the context of the FCTC.

The fifth session of the COP saw the adoption of the Protocol on Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products – the first binding instrument under the FCTC. This Protocol shall enter into force on the ninetieth day following the date of deposit of the fortieth instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval, formal confirmation or accession with the Depositary.

JTI continues to view the implementation of the FCTC as an opportunity for a practical, effective and proportionate approach to the regulation of tobacco products. JTI is concerned, however, that this opportunity is rapidly being lost. 

Since 2007, the Conference of Parties has adopted a series of non – binding guidelines which recommend the implementation of what JTI considers to be excessive and controversial tobacco control measures that go beyond the treaty.

These include the exclusion of the tobacco industry from participation in regulatory and other public processes, and the implementation of “plain packaging”, product display bans, and broad bans on ingredients on the basis of “attractiveness” – a vague and highly subjective concept that has no scientific or evidential basis. See Attractiveness.

These measures may have the effect of undermining the legitimacy of the FCTC's efforts to consider the public health concerns that the treaty was intended to address.

There is no irreconcilable conflict between JTI's interests and public health interests. JTI's view is clear: tobacco products carry risks to health. Appropriate and proportionate regulation of the tobacco sector is both necessary and right. See Regulation of tobacco products.

Last updated on 2017-06-01