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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   26 March 2012

Asean nations to up tobacco control measures

Speaking during the 15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan said the 10 member countries would strengthen tobacco control measures to bring them in line with the community's rules.

"Free trade is a key goal of Asean, but we believe it is not enough to focus only on free trade and fair trade. Safe trade should also be a primary consideration," he told the five-day conference, organised by the Singapore Health Promotion Board.

Some member countries still depend on revenue from tobacco and ignore the expense that is caused by smoking, he said.
The so-called Asean focal point on tobacco control, which is working on measures to curb smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke, is made up of a network of regional experts and representatives from each member state of the grouping.

Surin said the Asean secretariat in Jakarta will be made a smoke-free area from April 1, as the region recognised the importance of Section 8 of the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC).

It requires member countries to protect their citizens from second-hand smoke in all public and work places, and public transport.
Of the estimated 600 million people in the region, 125 million of them are smokers.


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