Is the ‘Framework Convention on Tobacco Control’ almost Finished?

I made a comment, ‘en passant’ yesterday that I thought that the above convention (aka ‘treaty’ of a sort) might be coming to an end as far as the UK is concerned. The reason that I said that was that a large part of the FCTC was concerned with advertising and marketing of tobacco products.  In fact, that was one of the few requirements which was ‘solid’. Here is a summary of the requirements of the FCTC:

Topic…… Measure……… Articles
Lobbying: Call for a limitation in the interactions between lawmakers and the tobacco industry……. Article 5.3.
Demand reduction: Tax and other measures to reduce tobacco demand………. Article 6 & 7.
Passive smoking: Obligation to protect all people from exposure to tobacco smoke in indoor workplaces, public transport and indoor public places….. Article 8.
Regulation: The contents and emissions of tobacco products are to be regulated and ingredients are to be disclosed. Article 10.
Packaging and labeling: Large health warning (at least 30% of the packet cover, 50% or more recommended); deceptive labels (“mild”, “light”, etc.) are prohibited……… Article 9 & 11.
Awareness: Public awareness for the consequences of smoking….. Article 12.
Tobacco advertising: Comprehensive ban, unless the national constitution forbids it…… Article 13.
Addiction: Addiction and cessation programs…….. Article 14.
Smuggling: Action is required to eliminate illicit trade of tobacco products……… Article 15.
Minors: Restricted sales to minors….. Article 16.
Research: Tobacco-related research and information sharing among the parties…… Articles 20, 21, & 22.

As you can see from the list, almost all the significant steps which the UK legislators can do, which might have a big impact, have been done.

Tobacco companies are excluded as far as is possible while still hearing what they have to say.
Taxation is as high as can reasonably be extended, and is already running into ‘laffe curve’ problems and illicit problems.
Passive smoking is being gradually debunked, but has already been effectively covered.
Awareness cannot really be extended further.
Addiction is a personal matter whatever they might say.
Minors have already been covered.

Plain packaging is the final act in the ‘control’ of the promotion, packaging and advertising of tobacco. But there is a serious problem with the expectations of the Zealots, which is that their ideology of the importance of packaging is seriously weak, no matter what stuff they might emit about advertising methods.

Many of us will be old enough to remember when we (or our mothers with us in tow!) went to the local shop to buy groceries and things. Butter was displayed as a huge lump, and the shopkeeper sliced off a lump, put it on a piece of plain grease paper, popped it on the scales and read off the weight, which was plus or minus a little on what had been asked for. Cheese was sold in the same way, and so was bacon. Sweets were in boxes or big bottles and were similarly weighed. Potatoes were in huge sacks and, again, were extracted from the sacks and weighed. The products were then put into plain brown or white paper bags.

What is the difference between PP and that ancient method of buying and selling? There isn’t much difference. The cig packets with their obscene and lying pictures and health messages are the equivalent of brown paper bags. An amusing thought occurs to me. Suppose that, as in older times, a retailer of tobacco received cigs in packs of loose cigs of five hundred, and then put them into brown paper bags in 20s? What would be the law? What I mean is that the packet of five hundred loose cigs would have all the vile pics and warnings, but the sale would be in a brown paper bag.

But I digress.


If you look at the above list of things to do, there is not much that has not already been done which could have a big effect on smoking. Smoking bans have excluded smoke from public places, etc. As far as I can see, the one thing that might still to be done is the smoking in cars with children present, or even smoking in cars altogether. Right – but what will be the health benefit directly? In any case, no one will take any notice. In fact, the distracting effect of banning smoking in cars will be more dangerous than the smoking by far.

Treaties have a natural lifespan. The exist until the conditions which required them cease to exist. An awful lot of treaties are never terminated. They just cease to be relevant.

Since, as far a the UK is concerned, everything that the FCTC requires has been done, can we stop paying the UN for the administration of the FCTC? We ought to. Why should we go on paying for something that we no longer need?


Do you know what? I think that I have an idea as to why our politicians are so useless.

I think that they have no concept of COST. They pay lip service to it, but have no real understanding. For example, suppose that I had to cut down on my household expenditure. What I could do is look at my major expenditure and decide to cut it. That expenditure might be energy. Thus, I could switch off the central heating and the fire and sit in the dark, shivering. OR, I could look at the myriad of little things that I spend money on as well. I could make it my practice to visit supermarkets in the final hour and look for bargains. Get clothes from charity shops. All that sort of thing.

Would it not be a wonderful idea for the coalition to have immediately set up a ‘cost-cutting’ Department? I don’t mean a slightly apologetic, hidden group of civil servants in a back room. I mean a fully fledged, important Department. One of the things that it would rapidly pick up on would be that, as far as we are concerned, the FCTC is done with. CUT OUT THAT COST! There must be tens of thousands of useless quangos and stuff which spend their time justifying their continuing existence. CUT OUT THOSE COSTS! What is the IPCC doing? It seems to keep repeating the same statements. We have heard everything there is to hear about global warming. Why are we paying for this organisation to keep repeating the same things? CUT THAT COST!


In science, when a discovery is made, the discoverer publishes his findings. He does so ONCE. There is no need for him to publish that discovery over and over again (although it might be reproduced elsewhere). Others will attempt to replicate his methods and will substantiate his discovery, or not. If they do, then the probability is that the discovery is genuine, but not necessarily. That is what happened with Faraday’s discovery that it is a changing magnetic field which produces an electric current rather than the mere presence of a magnetic field. Others replicated his experiments and found his discovery to be true, and it was from there that all our uses of electricity emanated.

What we have been seeing from tobacco control has been constant repetition of the same thing. That is not science. That is advertising and propaganda. It isn’t even ‘education’, since eduction is concerned with facts and not opinions. It is not a FACT that smoking causes lung cancer, as the McTear Case showed. It is a THEORY – a theory which has not be proven to be correct.


But don’t expect any such sensible actions from government as it exists at this time. The party political system is no longer ‘fit for purpose’. It is a dinosaur. What we need is a system where we elect the bosses of the REAL government. That is, the bosses of government departments. If the boss of the Health Dept is the Chief Medical Officer, then we should elect that person. We should elect the Foreign Secretary, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. But most of all, we should elect the boss of the COST CUTTING DEPT.

Would not that be wonderful?



6 Responses to “Is the ‘Framework Convention on Tobacco Control’ almost Finished?”

  1. Harleyrider1978 Says:

    Just got in turned up the puter and this came up! ROFLMAO

    Methodist center tired of abuse from student smokers

    A decade-long battle over trash from smokers is still unresolved.

    “The last time we tried to enforce the ban, our building was tagged up,” Meneses said. “We are worried it will happen again if we try it.”

    She was referring to graffiti, which the center staff had to remove.

    Meneses said since the rise in cigarette smoking on the property, ways to clean up the litter have been in debate.

    “Unless campus provides a trash can, we are not going to do it (furnish a bin) because we don’t want to encourage the students to smoke here, but we want to stop the abuse,” Meneses said. “It’s a lose-lose situation.”

    At one time, SGA intended to create fliers to warn students of the smoking ban, though they claim students are informed in an orientation class.

    The staff of the Methodist Student Center continues to wait for a response to the problem from SAC administrators.

    Zeigler said today in a phone interview that he addressed the cigarette problem and acknowledged the administration has been aware of the situation.

    He said the difficulty is how to tackle the problem since the center is not a part of the college, though it serves the students of this campus.

    “We are working on a solution,” he said.

    Meneses said the center is waiting for that solution.

    “Until then, we will just have to take the abuse,” Meneses said.

  2. Harleyrider1978 Says:

    I also hear that the Turkish anti-smoking meeting held last week is endorsing selling smoking liscences. It seems the Greeks passed that law last week at around 200 euros per square meter.

  3. Harleyrider1978 Says:

    Oh its coming to an END Cousin make no mistake………….The worlds nations are bankrupt,theyve printed to much cash and the bans are killing the economies and costing 10s of billions in lost revenues and enforcement costs. Its more lucrative to sell tobacco than illegal drugs! Look at the market share and theres no moral outrage by those who buy it!

  4. Junican Says:

    We will begin to see the end of the beginning (the end of persecution) when the law of ‘diminishing returns’ kicks in. At first, TC was able to hit vast numbers of people at the same time via smoking bans and increases in taxation, and the costs involved were small. But as the persecution is extended to individuals one at a time, as in car bans, then the ‘returns’ (in terms of people not smoking) become smaller and enforcement becomes almost impossible. Years ago, the highway code was amended to include smoking as a distraction when driving. Did it make any difference? Not in the slightest.
    Will ‘standardised packaging make any difference to smoking rates? Perhaps a tiny bit, but smokers will hardly be affected at all. The packets will all look alike, apart from the changing vile and dishonest pics. I buy my fags in Spain where the pics are obligatory. I don’t even notice that they are there now. I don’t even see them any more (unless I deliberately look).
    A young person will get his first cig from a friend who is old enough to buy them. He will either like smoking or not. When he is old enough and earning enough to buy cigs in packets, he will do so. He will also be drinking some alcohol, and perhaps indulging in drugs and sex.
    Eventually, it will become obvious that the cost of the propaganda and the studies and the university departments of tobacco control are pointless and will fall away. As we know, States are already redirecting receipts from the MSA to their general budgets.
    But there is still a long way to go.

  5. smokingscot Says:

    Now don’t you go shooting the messenger. FCTC is not static. It continues to evolve and all that’s required is Andrew Black (D of H) to sign off on any new initiatives. He did so on behalf of the UK at the last meeting in Seoul, to adopt ITP.

    Glance through it and you’ll see it gives them extreme far reaching powers. It may also lead indirectly to the EU making an exception to their free movement of goods throughout member states for tobacco products.

    and he has the authority to do it again in Moscow in October 2014.

    However there’s a separate European initiative and they held their conference in Istanbul just over a week ago. One of their ideas is to start a system of licensing and I left a couple of links and photos on Frank’s place:

    Stacks still to go Junican, with Australia and NZ showing that smoke free towns are one route. Then there’s Scotland with their move on private homes (with children at the moment but likely to evolve into apartment blocks). And so on.

    The short term (not as bad as it could have been) news is Osborne has finally laid to rest that he will not be using the 5% escalator before the end of this parliament. Just the 2%. What he does if given another 5 year mandate is open to question, however if Labour get in then it’ll be the 5% again for four years.

    • Junican Says:

      Yes and No, SS. What I am talking about is the broad requirements of the Convention. As you can see from the list of requirements, the obligations of the ‘treaty’ are limited. What Black does is not necessarily derived from the treaty. He is taking liberties, and will continue to do so until he is stopped. Given the monopoly situation, he is likely to go on adding demands. But at each escalation, the target gets more and more ‘spread out’ and more and more difficult to implement, and more and more expensive.
      As regards your first link, we should note this quote:

      The new treaty aims at eliminating all forms of illicit trade in tobacco products by requiring Parties to take measures to control the supply chain of tobacco products effectively and to cooperate internationally on a wide range of matters.

      That amuses me since the whole point of smuggling is that no one knows what is happening until it has happened! Legislators, as such, can do bugger all about smuggling because they have no ‘legal’ entity to influence.

      But I agree with your broad thrust. The Zealots and Charlatans will push and push, and there is still a long way to go. But I still think that the FCTC, as such, is a defunct treaty for all intents and purposes.

      I read somewhere that Greece is about to introduce licences for …. what? Smoking bars and restaurants? I do not know. You would need to tell me!

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