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The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) was a landmark treaty in the history of public health. Though its regulations have reduced the burden of non-communicable diseases caused by tobacco smoke, the battle for worldwide tobacco control has yet to be won. Some non-smokers are still heavily exposed to secondhand smoke, especially those working in hospitality industries where smoking is allowed indoors.

The Austrian government cancelled a ban on smoking in bars and restaurants, putting workers and patrons at a higher risk of emphysema, cancer, and other NCDs. The decision may also reverse the nation’s improvements in reducing rates of smoking among youths. Austria’s action contrasts the goal of the FCTC and represents a step backward in public health.

Immediate Past President of the WFPHA, Michael Moore, wrote an open letter to Minister Sebastian Kurz of the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs in support of the FCTC and implementing stricter tobacco control policies in Austria.

“There is a long history of the tobacco industry intimidating, bribing, cajoling, and using a myriad of other techniques to prevent governments from interfering with their domination in the ‘free market of tobacco’. They continue to do so. Governments that have prioritized the health of their children and community have resisted this domination by following the strategies agreed to in the FCTC,” said Moore, urging Austria to take action to support full implementation of the FCTC . 

The letter has been quoted by a number of journals:

image005 Letter to Austrian Minister Sebastian Kurz

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