American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Launches Push for Ratification of Landmark Global Public Health Treaty

July 12, 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- July 12, 2006 -- The American Cancer Society Cancer Action NetworkSM (ACS CAN) the non-profit, non-partisan sister advocacy organization of the American Cancer Society, today escalated its push for the United States to ratify a landmark global public health treaty with a new print advertisement that urges public advocacy in support of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The ad asks Americans to call upon President Bush to send the FCTC to the Senate for ratification. The advertisement appeared in today’s editions of The Washington Post and is available at

The world’s first public health treaty, the FCTC is dedicated to stem the rapidly intensifying global tobacco epidemic. It was unanimously adopted in May 2003 by the 192 members of the World Health Organization’s World Health Assembly. One year later, the United States became the 108th country to sign the treaty, which requires that the U.S. support the concept of ratification and do nothing that would undermine the treaty. However, President Bush has not yet sent the treaty to the Senate for ratification.

Cancer will kill more people in the world this year than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. By 2020, the number of new cancer cases worldwide will grow to 15 million and the number of deaths will double to as many as 12 million. An estimated 70 percent of these deaths will occur in developing countries, which are least prepared to address their growing cancer burdens. The only consumer product proven to kill more than half of its regular users, tobacco will be responsible for 4.9 million deaths worldwide this year alone. If left unchecked, tobacco use will kill more than one billion people in this century, the worst case of avoidable loss of life in world history.

“I was extremely proud when the U.S., recognizing the enormous potential that this treaty has to reduce the increasing death toll of tobacco worldwide, signed the FCTC,” wrote John R.Seffrin, Ph.D., chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society and ACS CAN, in a letter to President Bush this spring. “Now, the U.S. has another opportunity to show leadership on this important public health issue by ratifying the treaty.”

As of June 30, 2006, 132 countries had ratified the FCTC, making it the most rapidly embraced treaty in history, one that now covers more than three-fourths of the world’s population. The treaty includes mandatory provisions regarding tobacco advertising, warning labels, secondhand smoke and tobacco smuggling. In addition, the treaty encourages parties to enact other tobacco control policies that will help fight the number one cause of cancer and preventable death around the globe.

The new advertisement is being released in conjunction with the 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health and the UICC World Cancer Congress 2006, both being held this week in Washington, D.C. The two conferences, which before this year had never been held concurrently in the same city, unite thousands of the world’s cancer and tobacco control leaders in a global campaign against tobacco-related disease.

To facilitate implementation of action items called for in the FCTC, the American Cancer Society and International Union Against Cancer (UICC) today also released tobacco control strategy planning guides for creating successful campaigns for smoke-free air. Enforcing Strong Smoke-Free Laws: The Advocate’s Guide to Enforcement Strategies and Enacting Strong Smokefree Laws: The Advocate’s Guide to Legislative Strategies, are new guides on enactment and enforcement of smoke-free laws and regulations. The guides include case studies and successful stories of advocacy strategies drawn from the most culturally and politically adaptable strategies that have been field-tested by advocates around the world. Used together, these guides can assist tobacco control advocates who want to enact and enforce smoke-free air laws and protect their communities against the harms of smoking.

ACS CAN is the nonprofit, nonpartisan sister advocacy organization of the American Cancer Society. ACS CAN is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major public health problem through issue campaigns and voter education aimed at lawmakers and candidates to support laws and policies that will help people fight cancer. ACS CAN does not endorse candidates and is not a political action committee (PAC). For more information, visit

Tovah Ravitz-Meehan
Phone: (202) 661-5774
E-mail: [email protected]

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