A global treaty aimed at dissuading children from smoking and helping adults kick the habit came into force on Sunday with the &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/world/20/91/368/13114_KyotoProtocol.html' target=_blank>United Nations saying it could save millions of lives. The World Health Organization (WHO) applauded the strong warnings on cigarette packages and the eventual ban on tobacco advertising and sponsorship laid down in the world's first international public health treaty.
"It's entry into force is a demonstration of governments' commitment to reduce death and illness from tobacco use," said WHO Director-General Lee Jong-wook in a statement to mark the event.
Tobacco, the second leading cause of preventable deaths globally after hypertension, kills 4.9 million people a year, the U.N. agency says.
And the annual death toll from tobacco-related diseases -- &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/world/2001/01/04/1830.html' target=_blank>lung cancer, heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases -- could soar to 10 million by 2020, with 70 percent of the deaths in developing countries, informs Reuters.