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October 17th, 2014:

FCTC boots public from plenary hall

14 Oct 2014.

Delegates to the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in Moscow opted to bar the public, including media representatives, from their plenary session, according to two accounts.

Following ejection of tobacco industry observers, expert groups and some media representatives from the viewing gallery from the 13 Oct opening session, all accredited media were kept from the hall on the following day, a Russian journalist told TJI. The sixth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP6) is scheduled to close on 18 Oct.

“Hidden agendas corrupt policy-making processes”, commented Michiel Reerink, vice president for global regulatory strategy at Japan Tobacco International. “COP is again hijacked by tobacco control lobbyists who freely exercise undue influence. We urge the FCTC to take every remaining opportunity to fix this broken process,” Reerink said in a prepared statement.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, in the text of her COP6 opening address, said “, despite the fact that we are facing new threats, like the Ebola virus, we still draw your attention to the fact that tobacco control remains our main priority.”

COP meetings are held semi-annually to review and expand the scope of the FCTC. COP sessions in Korea two years ago and Uruguay in 2010 also were closed to outside observers.

Observational study of the visibility of branded tobacco packaging and smoking at outdoor bars/cafes in Wellington, New Zealand



To collect data on tobacco brand visibility on packaging on outdoor tables at bars/cafes in a downtown area, prior to a proposed plain packaging law.


The study was conducted in the Central Business District of Wellington City in March 2014. Observational data were systematically collected on tobacco packaging visibility and smoking by patrons at 55 bars/cafes with outdoor tables.


A total of 19,189 patrons, 1707 tobacco packs and 1357 active smokers were observed. One tobacco pack was visible per 11.0 patrons and the active smoking prevalence was 7.1% (95%CI: 4.9-9.2%), similar to Australian results (8.3%). Eighty percent of packs were positioned face-up (showing the brand), 8% face-down (showing the large pictorial warning), and 12% in other positions. Pack visibility per patron was significantly greater in areas without child patrons (RR=3.1, p<0.0001). Both smoking and pack visibility tended to increase from noon into the evenings on weekends. Inter-observer reliability for key measures in this study was high (Bland-Altman plots).


Tobacco branding on packaging was frequently visible because of the way smokers position their packs. These results highlight the residual problem posed by this form of marketing. The results also provide baseline data for the future evaluation of plain packaging if a proposed law is implemented in New Zealand. Other results warrant further research, particularly the reasons for lower pack visibility and smoking when children were present.