The 1998 settlement agreement between US tobacco manufacturers and state authorities includes provision for banning the outdoor advertising of tobacco products, including: billboards, signs and placards larger than a poster in arenas, stadiums, shopping malls, and video game arcades. The agreement bans transit advertising of tobacco products. The agreement also requires the removal of existing tobacco billboards and transit advertisements within 150 days of the agreement coming into force. The agreement allows US states to substitute, at industry expense and for the duration of billboard lease periods, alternative advertising which discourages youth smoking. The agreement bans tobacco companies from entering into agreements which would prohibit advertising discouraging tobacco use.
WHO director general, Gro Harlem Brundtland said: "Smoking should not be advertised, subsidised or glamorised. We are engaging in a broad alliance to drive home this message, especially to support countries which are not prepared to face the tide that may be coming." With multinational tobacco firms now turning their marketing efforts to poorer nations and to women, the WHO says global action with legal force is needed to support national efforts to combat smoking. According to WHO projections, tobacco will kill 10 million people a year by 2020, nearly three times the current level.