Pubdate: Sat, 05 February 2000
Source: Japan Times (Tokyo)
Copyright: © 2000 Japan Times
WHO chief urges Japan to tighten smoking laws
GENEVA (Kyodo) Gro Harlem Brundtland, director general of the World Health Organization, urged Japan on Thursday to toughen controls on tobacco in order to improve the health of Japanese people.
Despite the importance of the issue, Japan's tobacco controls lag decades behind countries like Norway and the United States, the former Norwegian prime minister said in an interview with Kyodo News.
"There was much more smoking (in Norway) 20 years ago than there is now," Brundtland said. "We have turned the tide. I think that is what you need to do in Japan."
Measures Japan should introduce include a ban on advertisements, expanding nonsmoking areas, and passing antismoking legislation, she said.
Brundtland's comments came ahead of the WHO's resumption of work in March on the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the world's first multilaterally negotiated public health treaty aimed at reducing the global use of tobacco and tobacco-related deaths in the next century.
The FCTC is scheduled to be available for signing in 2003.
According to a 1999 survey by the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare, 52.8 percent of adult men smoke in Japan, compared with 28.1 percent in the U.S.
Japan Times, Tokyo