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Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Putting the G Back in Global

Bonobos aren't 'hard-liners' about many topics. By our very nature we are playful and non-agressive, and, oh, we don't bite. But we would just like to take the time out to welcome our 'almost a bonobo' relatives , and celebrate the day with a world first that is really worth the effort - and express the hope that this is a pointer of the way forward for Global Solutions Inc. Now let's make it stick shall we.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has unanimously adopted an anti-smoking treaty - the first global public health measure ever approved. The aim of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is to reduce an estimated five million smoking-related deaths each year. All 192 member states are now committed to strict curbs on the advertising, marketing and sale of tobacco products within five years. At least one third of the space on cigarette packets will have to be devoted to health warnings, including pictures of diseased lungs.

The adoption of the treaty is a triumph for the outgoing director general of the WHO, Gro Harlem Brundtland, who made tackling tobacco-related deaths a key issue during her time in office. "Today we are acting to save billions of lives and protect people's health for generations to come. This is an historic moment," she said. The BBC's Imogen Foulkes, at WHO headquarters in the Swiss city of Geneva, says the vote ends four years of sometimes acrimonious wrangling. During this period, she says, countries with large tobacco industries - including the United States and Germany - initially opposed the treaty but finally gave their approval under strong pressure from developing nations.

The WHO, a United Nations agency, says that some 4.9 million people die each year from cancer, cardiovascular disease and other conditions linked to smoking. If countries fail to adopt the measures of the convention, it says, the death toll is likely to exceed 10 million by 2020, with 70% of the victims in the developing world. Many new smokers are young girls in the developing world, where levels of tobacco consumption are rising - in contrast to trends in some industrialised nations. The convention will come into force once it is ratified by 40 countries.
Source: BBC

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