Swiss to push for tougher global anti-smoking laws
Switzerland is to lend its weight to a proposed international convention aimed at combating smoking. The Swiss are to push for increased taxation on tobacco products and measures to promote awareness of the dangers of smoking at a meeting in Geneva later this month.
The Federal Health Office said on Wednesday that it would be coming out firmly in favour of a proposed international treaty to combat smoking when it attends a World Health Organisation (WHO) meeting, which kicks off on April 30.
The gathering is the second round of negotiations over a framework convention to regulate tobacco consumption, and the WHO hopes to have a convention drawn up by 2003, which can then be sent to member states for approval.
Thomas Zeltner, who is heading the Swiss delegation, said he would be calling for greater measures to discourage young people from taking up smoking as well as tobacco taxes.
The first round of talks took place last November, and the Federal Health Office says another three to four rounds will be needed before the convention is ready.
Last year, four million died from tobacco related illnesses – a figure the WHO predicts will rise to 10 million by 2030 unless preventative action is taken soon.
The WHO says this figure would exceed the death rates caused by any other single disease, and would account for a sixth of all deaths worldwide.
swissinfo with agencies
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