Global Tobacco Treaty Becomes Law – Cancer Society Urges Immediate Action

25 Feb 2005

The global treaty on tobacco control, known as the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) will enter into force on Sunday 27th February 2005 becoming binding international law for countries, such as New Zealand, that are Parties to it. On this day New Zealand will become legally bound to implement the provisions in the Treaty.

Some of the key obligations under the treaty which New Zealand does not currently meet are:

  • the introduction of large (over 50%) health warnings with pictures; and
  • the banning of misleading descriptors such as ‘light’, ‘low tar’ and ‘mild’.

Whilst Parties have three years in which to implement these obligations, the Cancer Society does not see that this delay is necessary for countries such as New Zealand.

“The timeframe was meant to assist developing countries with limited resources to implement the obligations, there is no reason for New Zealand to take such a long time. Pictorial health warnings have already been adopted in countries as diverse as Canada, Brazil, Thailand and Singapore. New Zealand needs to reclaim its role as a global leader in tobacco control” said Belinda Hughes, Tobacco Control Advisor to the Cancer Society.”

The treaty also strongly advises countries to take actions including:

  • prohibiting duty free sales of tobacco products;
  • increasing taxation on tobacco products to reduce consumption; and
  • adopting measures to regulate the production and distribution of tobacco products such as licensing of tobacco retailers.

The Cancer Society strongly supports these measures which have already been successfully implemented overseas and urges the New Zealand government to implement them as soon as possible.

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact

Ms. Belinda Hughes
Tobacco Control Policy Advisor
(04) 494 7274 or 027 276 7922.


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