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The World Health Organization (WHO)unveiled a global strategy on Saturday to scale up the tobacco control agendaover the next few years and to prevent further interference by tobacco industryin public health policies.

The strategy, titled the Medium-TermStrategic Framework (MTSF), aims to strengthen implementation of the WHOFramework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC), with a roadmap to guide thework of the convention parties, the secretariat and other stakeholders withregards to tobacco control from 2019 to 2025.

"The adoption of this strategy marks akey milestone in strengthening the FCTC," said Dr. Vera Luiza da Costa eSilva, head of the WHO FCTC Secretariat. "This strategy provides a veryclear path forward, with priorities and objectives to reinforce governmentpolicies and accelerate global action for more effective implementation of the tobaccocontrol treaty."

The strategy was concluded during theeighth session (COP8) of the FCTC, which brought together over 1,200participants, including delegations from 148 parties to the global tobaccocontrol treaty and representatives of UN agencies, other intergovernmentalorganizations and civil society.

They also agreed to maximize transparencyto protect FCTC related sessions and proceedings from the intrusion of tobaccoindustry representatives and interests.

"More than ever, we need to stay thecourse and strengthen our commitment to ensure that FCTC efforts to protect andpromote public health and sustainable development are not hijacked by thetobacco industry," Dr. Costa e Silva said. "We must yield no groundto the tobacco industry."

To prevent further interference by tobaccoindustry in public health policies, the strategy requires parties to the treatyto protect national public health policies "from commercial and othervested interests of the tobacco industry."

In addition to tighter control actions, theparties also addressed the need for tobacco control efforts to integratestrategies to combat the destructive impacts of tobacco on the environment andsustainable development.

Since it came into force in 2005, the FCTChas resulted in national strategies and legislation that have introduced healthwarning on packages of tobacco and comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising,promotion and sponsorship.

As the only existing globalintergovernmental meeting exclusively devoted to tobacco control, the FCTC COPhas served as a platform for policy formulation and the adoption ofimplementation mechanisms by the parties to the convention.


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