Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)

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The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health. Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is a treaty (an agreement under international law) adopted on May 2003 by the 56th World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO. This was the first global public health treaty adopted by the WHO. The FCTC treaty entered into force from February 2005 legally binding 180 ratifying countries as of 2017[1].

FCTC was adopted as an answer to the globalization of the tobacco epidemic. The expansion of the tobacco epidemic increased due to factors beyond the control of a single country; such as trade liberalization, direct foreign investments, global marketing, transnational tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship and international movement of contraband and counterfeit cigarettes[2]. According to the preamble of the FCTC, it also reflects the “concern of the international community about the devastating worldwide health, social, economic and environmental consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke”. The Convention also states that “Parties to this Convention are determined to give priority to their right to protect public health”. [2] This agreement is one of the most quickly authenticated treaties in the United Nations history, highlighting its importance in protecting the present and future generations from the destructive health, social and economic consequences due to the tobacco burden. [2]

The Articles

The Convention is divided into sections or ‘Articles’[2]:

  • Articles 3 to 5 - Objective, guiding principles and general obligations of the treaty;
  • Articles 6 to 14 – Demand reduction measures;
  • Articles 15 to 17 – Supply reduction measures;
  • Article 18 – Protection of the environment;
  • Article 19 – Liability;
  • Articles 20 to 22 - Cooperation and communication;
  • Articles 23 to 26 - Institutional arrangements and financial resources;
  • Article 27 - Settlement of disputes;
  • Articles 28 to 29 - Development of the convention; and
  • Articles 30 to 38 - “final provisions”, covering statutory matters such as means of acceding to the Convention, entry into force, and so on.

The Recommendations

The strategies recommended by the convention is summarized in the acronym ‘MPOWER[3]

MMonitor tobacco use and prevention policies
P Protect people from tobacco smoke
OOffer help to quit tobacco use
WWarn people about tobacco
EEnforce bans on advertising, promotion and sponsorship
RRaise the price of tobacco


The WHO FCTC was opened for signature in June 2003 and recorded 168 Signatories at its closure, making it one of the most widely accepted treaties in the United Nations history. The Convention entered into force on 27 February 2005, ratified, accepted, or approved by 40 States. As of February 2020, there were 181 Parties to the convention, covering more than 90% of the world population.[4]

Implementation - South Asia

All the countries in the region are parties to the FCTC.[5]

  • Afghanistan - Signed: 29 June 2004; Ratified: 13 August 2010
  • Bangladesh - Signed: 16 June 2003; Ratified: 14 June 2004
  • Bhutan - Signed: 9 December 2003; Ratified: 23 August 2004
  • India - Signed: 10 September 2003; Ratified: 5 February 2004
  • Maldives - Signed: 17 May 2004; Ratified: 20 May 2004
  • Nepal - Signed: 3 December 2003; Ratified: 7 November 2006
  • Pakistan - Signed: 18 May 2004; Ratified: 3 November 2004
  • Sri Lanka - Signed: 23 September 2003; Ratified: 11 November 2003

Relevant Links


TUSouthAsia Resources


  1. WHO Framework Convention on tobacco control website, 2017, accessed March, 2017
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 World Health Organization. Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, 2005, accessed March 2017
  3. Tobacco Free Initiative. MPOWER brochures and other resources, 2017, accessed March, 2017
  4. WHO-FCTC Secretariat Website. Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, 2020, accessed February 2020
  5. United Nation's Treaty Collection. WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, undated, accessed February 2020