France and South Africa united for tobacco control and the introduction of plain packaging [fr]
On 20 July 2015, health officials from 11 countries (Australia, France, Hungary, Ireland, Norway, New-Zealand, South-Africa, Sweden, United-Kingdom and Uruguay) met in Paris at the invitation of Ms. Touraine, French Minister of Social Affairs and Health, to discuss tobacco control measures and especially the issue of the introduction of plain packaging at national level.
South Africa was represented by Ms. Nthari Matsau, Deputy Director-General for Health, responsible for International Relations, Health Trade and Health Product Regulation at the National Department of Health (NDOH).
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- From left to right: Mrs. Agneta Karlsson, State Secretary to the Minister for Health Care, Public Health and Sport, Sweden, Prof. Guillermo Dighiero, Chairman of the Board of the Institut Pasteur of Montevideo, in-coming Ambassador of Uruguay in France, Mrs. Jane Ellison, Public Health minister, United Kingdom, Dr James Reilly, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Ireland Mrs. Marisol Touraine, Minister of Social Affairs, Health and Women Rights, France, Mr. Bent Hoie, Minister of Health an Care Services, Norway, Dr Vera Luiza Da Costa e Silva, Head of the Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), Geneva, Ms. Nthari Matsau, Deputy Director General for International Health Development and Support, Republic of South Africa and Mr. Martin Bowles, Secretary of the Department of Health, Australia.
France is very active in implementing the WHO Global Action Plan on prevention and control of non-communicable diseases 2013-2020. In line with the target of this action plan to reduce by 30% the prevalence of current tobacco use in persons aged 15+ years by 2025, France adopted in 2014 its National Plan for Reduction of tobacco consumption which includes several tobacco control measures such as promoted by the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco control (FCTC). France’s ambition is to make sure that children that are born today may be the first tobacco-free generation.
Considering the recent scientific publications, the recommendation of WHO and the example of Australia in 2012 but also Ireland and the United-Kingdom in 2015, France decided to implement plain packaging as part of its national plan. This measure will enter into force next year, once the law on the modernization of the health system is adopted. Other Governments, including South Africa, are also keen to follow this route.