The World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

The World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is a global health treaty created in 2003 to address the global tobacco epidemic. The FCTC has been ratified by 180 countries, covering about 90% of the world’s population.

Article 14 of the FCTC calls for governments to implement smoking cessation programs as part of a comprehensive strategy to reverse the tobacco epidemic and includes the provision that:

All Parties should offer quitlines in which callers can receive advice from trained cessation specialists. Ideally they should be free and offer proactive support. Quitlines should be widely publicized and advertised, and adequately staffed to ensure that tobacco users can always receive individual support. Parties are encouraged to include the quitline number on tobacco product packaging.

Research has demonstrated that telephone quitlines can dramatically increase access to cost-effective, evidence-based smoking cessation treatment, and augment the benefits of broader tobacco control policies to reduce smoking-related disease, disability, and deaths, improving population health and saving millions of lives. However, only 56 countries–just a third of all FCTC signatory nations–have tobacco quitlines. Furthermore, existing quitlines are disproportionately located in developed, high-income nations; two-thirds of smokers live in low- and middle-income countries, where 80% of all tobacco-related deaths will occur.

To assist countries in the implementation of effective interventions to reduce the demand for tobacco, the WHO introduced the MPOWER measures. As a WHO partner, the IQI builds off the MPOWER measures to increase accessible and effective tobacco cessation services for those countries most in need. To learn more about the FCTC and the MPOWER measures, visit the FCTC website.