Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)

Headline : Mobile scheme to quit tobacco has over 2 million users in India

Details :

In News:

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently released its 7th report on global tobacco epidemic.
  • The report analyses national efforts to implement the most effective measures from the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).


About: Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)

  • The World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) is a treaty adopted by the 56th World Health Assembly held in Geneva, Switzerland in 2003.
  • This World Health Organization (WHO) treaty came into force in 2005.
  • The FCTC, is a supranational agreement that seeks “to protect present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke“.
  • To achieve this, it seeks to enact a set of universal standards stating the dangers of tobacco and limiting its use in all forms worldwide
  • Demand reduction provisions: The core demand reduction provisions in the WHO FCTC are:
    • Price and tax measures to reduce the demand for tobacco
    • Non-price measures to reduce the demand for tobacco, including regulation of the contents of tobacco products, packaging and labelling of tobacco products, Education, communication, training and public awareness etc.
  • Supply reduction provisions: The core supply reduction provisions in the WHO FCTC are:
    • Illicit trade in tobacco products;
    • Sales to and by minors; and,
    • Provision of support for economically viable alternative activities.


About: “MPOWER” interventions:

  • To help countries implement the WHO FCTC, WHO introduced MPOWER, a package of technical measures and resources, each of which corresponds to at least one provision of the WHO FCTC.
  • MPOWER builds the capacity of countries to implement certain provisions of the WHO FCTC.
  • The MPOWER report was launched in 2007 to promote government action on six tobacco control strategies in-line with the WHO FCTC to:
    • Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies
    • Protect people from tobacco smoke
    • Offer help to quit tobacco use
    • Warn people about the dangers of tobacco
    • Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship
    • Raise taxes on tobacco
  • “MPOWER” interventions, have been shown to save lives and reduce costs from averted healthcare expenditure.


About: Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products

  • llicit trade poses a serious threat to public health because it increases access to often cheaper tobacco products, thus fueling the tobacco epidemic and undermining tobacco control policies.
  • It also causes substantial losses in government revenues, and at the same time contributes to the funding of international criminal activities.
  • In response to the growing illicit trade in tobacco products, often across borders, The Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products was adopted in 2012.
  • It is the first protocol to the WHO FCTC, and builds upon and complements Article 15 of the WHO FCTC, which addresses means of countering illicit trade in tobacco products, a key aspect of a comprehensive tobacco control policy.
  • The Protocol has the objective of eliminating all forms of illicit trade in tobacco products through a package of measures to be taken by countries acting in cooperation with each other.


News Summary:

  • About 1.1 billion people are currently smokers, out of which about half of those who use tobacco will die as a result.
  • In 2017, a Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) found that 38.5 per cent of adult smokers and 33.2 per cent adult users of smokeless forms of tobacco had attempted to quit.
  • The WHO’s 7th report on global tobacco epidemic “Monitoring tobacco use and prevention policies” was recently released, special reference about India’s efforts in helping smokers quit.


At the world level:

  • Remarkable progress has been made in global tobacco control since MPOWER was introduced.
  • Progress is being made, with 2.4 billion people living in countries now providing comprehensive cessation services (2 billion more than in 2007). However, only 23 countries provide cessation services at best-practice level.
    • Tobacco cessation services include national toll-free quit lines, “mCessation” services to reach larger populations via mobile phones, counselling by primary health care providers and cost-covered nicotine replacement therapy.
  • Nearly two thirds of countries (121 of 194) – comprising 63% of the world’s population – have now introduced at least one MPOWER
  • However, the report reveals that lives are still at risk from tobacco, with billions of people living in countries that have not yet fully implemented even one of six effective measures to control tobacco recommended by the organisation.
  • About 2.7 billion people still have no protection from the illness, disability and death caused by tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure, or from associated economic, environmental and social harms.

Findings on India

  • India is the second largest consumer of tobacco products, with more than 200 million users of smokeless tobacco and 276 million consumers of tobacco overall.
  • India advanced to best-practice level with their tobacco use cessation services.
  • The GATS survey conducted in India in 2009–10 revealed that 47% of current smokers and 46% of current users of smokeless tobacco planned to quit tobacco use eventually.
  • Considering the high interest in quitting among tobacco users, the Government of India launched a countrywide tobacco cessation programme and national toll-free quitline in May 2016.
  • India is among countries with the highest level of achievement in reducing tobacco use among the youth, and also in motivating users to quit.


India’s efforts in helping smokers quit.

  • The National Tobacco Control Programme
  • The mCessation programme being implemented by the Indian government with support from the WHO and International Telecommunication Union’s Be He@lthy, Be mobile


About: National Tobacco Control Programme

Government of India launched the National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) in the year 2007-08.


  • create awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco consumption,
  • reduce the production and supply of tobacco products,
  • ensure effective implementation of the provisions under “The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003” (COTPA)
  • help the people quit tobacco use, and
  • facilitate implementation of strategies for prevention and control of tobacco advocated by WHO Framework Convention of Tobacco Control .

Objectives :

  • To bring about greater awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco use and Tobacco Control Laws.
  • To facilitate effective implementation of the Tobacco Control Laws.
  • The objective of this programme is to control tobacco consumption and minimize the deaths caused by it.


Be He@lthy, Be Mobile initiative

  • It harnesses the power and reach of mobile phones to address the non-communicable disease (NCD) risk factors by educating people to make healthier lifestyle choices to help prevent and manage NCDs via their phones.
  • The initiative uses mobile phone technology to deliver disease prevention and management information directly to mobile phone users, and strengthens health systems by providing training to health workers.


About m-Cessation Programme

  • As a part of Digital India initiative, mCessation programme was launched using text messages in 2016.
  • It uses two-way messaging between the individual seeking to quit tobacco use and programme specialists providing them dynamic support.
  • The programme allows people who want to quit tobacco use to register by giving a missed call to a dedicated national number.
  • The programme’s progress is monitored in real-time through an online dashboard that details the number of registrations.
  • The programme has shown strong outcomes in terms of health and outreach, and provides a huge opportunity to help several million tobacco users who want to quit.
  • mTobaccoCessation version-2 has also been launched recently, which can deliver content through SMS or interactive voice response in 12 languages.

Note: MCessation could be included in PHC (Primary Health Care)-level advice to enable maximum reach.

Section : Social Issues

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