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Editorial in The Lancet calls for a Framework Convention on Alcohol Control

The influential medical journal The Lancet has in a recent editorial called for a Framework Convention on Alcohol Control. The journal says that next year's World Health Assembly provides a crucial opportunity for WHO and member states to make those first steps towards a global treaty to reduce alcohol-related harm.

Dag Endal

The important editorial statement on international alcohol control was found in The Lancet 2007; 307:1102 (September 2007). The editorial refers to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control as “one of WHO’s greatest achievements” and argues that a similar international treaty is needed also on alcohol, for alcohol control measures to be taken more seriously by national governments.

Reference is also made to the recent statements by World Medical Association and the American Public Health Association, who have voiced their support for stronger international efforts to prevent alcohol problems by adopting an international framework convention.

Compared to all the efforts to fight tobacco smoking, The Lancet describes the attitudes towards alcohol as “lax”: “These lax attitudes along with free trade and competition rules, which treat alcohol as any other commodity, have undermined effective alcohol control measures, such as increasing taxes or restricting the hours or days of sale. Instead, at country level, ineffective control strategies (warning labels, education in schools) have been adopted. Internationally, resolutions on alcohol control exist but are non-binding and easily flouted.”



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