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Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development (1) what discussions he has had with developing countries about health programmes to reduce smoking; and what assessment has been made of the use of UK programmes in developing countries; [131204](2) what estimate his Department has made of the healthcare costs associated with the growth in smoking in developing countries; [131205](3) what discussions his Department has had with developing countries on

(a) using taxation to reduce consumption of tobacco products and (b) developing public education campaigns on the dangers of smoking; [131206]

(4) what measures his Department has taken to educate the public in least developed countries on the dangers of smoking. [131237]

We do not have direct discussions with or provide support to countries in this area, but work through the World Health Organisation (WHO) and also support the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. This convention was adopted at the World Health Assembly in May 2003 and has been signed by 56 countries so far, including many developing countries. The convention requires countries that have signed it to implement comprehensive tobacco control programmes and strategies at the national, regional and local levels. These include promoting treatment programmes to help people stop smoking, education to prevent people from starting and measures to prohibit sales of tobacco products to minors. The convention recognises that tax and price measures are an important way of reducing tobacco consumption, particularly in young people, and requires signatories to consider public health objectives when implementing tax and price policies on tobacco products.This year we plan to transfer a total of £12.5 million to WHO. For the calendar year 2002, WHO spent $4.1 million of its regular budget and $10.4 million of extra-budgetary funds on tobacco-related work, from a total expenditure of $464 million in 2002.