China has become the 89th country to ratify the global tobacco treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Countries that ratify the treaty commit themselves to stringent tobacco control measures, including advertising restrictions, clean indoor air laws, higher tobacco taxes, and bigger warning labels on tobacco packaging.
"China is showing tremendous leadership in this area," said Stephen F. Sener, MD, national president of the American Cancer Society. "This is a gift of health and life to more than 350 million smokers in China, and to China’s children."
ACS supports the tobacco treaty because it has the potential to reduce the deadly effects of tobacco use. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the world, claiming nearly 5 million lives each year, according to the World Health Organization. Smoking is a major cause of heart disease, lung disease, stroke, and cancer. Smoking causes about 30% of all cancer deaths in the United States, and 87% of lung cancer deaths.
In China, tobacco kills about 1.2 million people each year. About 60% of Chinese men and 3% of Chinese women smoke.
The World Health Organization developed the FCTC in 2003. Since that time, 167 nations have signed the treaty and 89 have formally ratified or accepted it. Only countries that ratify the treaty are required to meet its demands.
The United States signed the treaty in 2004, but has not yet ratified it. To ratify the treaty, the President must send it to the Senate for consideration, and a two-thirds majority of the Senate must vote to accept it.