India To Host Tobacco Control Conference For The First Time


New Delhi: India is set to host the crucial global tobacco control conference on  Monday for the first time, where it will push for incorporating smokeless tobacco as an agenda amid a presence of delegates from about 180 countries.

The Seventh Session of the Conference of Parties (COP7) to World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to be held from November 7 to 12 at Greater Noida.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena will be the special invited speaker at the conference, which will be inaugurated by Union Health Minister J P Nadda, Health Ministry officials said.

Noting that there is a large number of people in India who are increasingly opting for smokeless form of tobacco, they said the country’s effort will be to put it on the agenda of FCTC.

India has already implemented 85 per cent pictorial warning on tobacco products, but the issue of plain packaging, that refers to packaging that requires the removal of all branding “will still be on the mind” during the deliberations at the conference, they added.

About 1,500 delegates are expected to participate in the conference from around 180 countries along with other observers in official relations with the WHO FCTC Secretariat in Geneva.

India ratified the treaty on February 27, 2005 and is obligated to comply with the treaty provisions and its guidelines to reduce tobacco consumption globally. It is the first occasion that a COP meeting is being held in India and signals a strong commitment of the government to increase international co-operation and awareness of the WHO FCTC globally and especially in the WHO South-East Asia Region, the Health Ministry said.