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By Pharmacy Online

Cigarettes should be regulated as drugs, WHO chief says
GENEVA (AP)--Cigarettes should be treated as a drug and subject to the same rules that apply to other forms of nicotine, such as patches and chewing gum, the World Health Organization chief said Tuesday.

"A cigarette is a euphemism for a cleverly crafted product that delivers just the right amount of nicotine to keep its user addicted for life before killing the person," WHO director-general Gro Harlem Brundtland told a meeting of the International Conference of Drug Regulatory Authorities in Berlin.

She said it did not stand to reason that harmful nicotine in cigarettes was sold freely, while prescriptions were needed for therapeutic nicotine sold as a pharmaceutical.

Tobacco kills 4 million people every year, more than 70 percent of them in developing countries, according to WHO figures. In the first quarter of the next century, the number of deaths will rise to 10 million and become "the single largest contributor to the global burden of disease," Brundtland said.

Brundtland said the WHO would convene a high-level meeting of international regulators to assess "the extent to which the tobacco industry had subverted science and used false advertising and promotional tactics to veil nicotine addiction as an act of free choice."


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