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World No Tobacco Day

World No Tobacco Day 2017: how different countries are celebrating

31 May, 17 | by Marita Hefler, News Editor

This page brings together coverage from around the world of World No Tobacco Day. It will be updated regularly with tweets, photos and links to news coverage.

The theme of World No Tobacco Day 2017 is Tobacco – a threat to development. 

New Zealand started with a world first by announcing that its military will become completely smoke free by 2020. Read the story here. There is still much to be done in New Zealand to achieve the government’s goal of being smoke-free by 2025.I

In Australia, there is strong action being taken by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services to reduce the high smoking prevalence among Indigenous people.

In Indonesia, the National Commission on Tobacco Control is urging the government to sign the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Read the story here.

Nigeria is a country in the sights of the tobacco industry. Smoke Free Nigeria is saying #NoTobacco.

In Austria, a new study released to mark WNTD has found that increasing the price of tobacco by 5%, it will result in a drop in consumption of 3.5%. Read the study here. 

In the USA, ASH has released a new report highlighting how the country is falling behind other countries – and it is the most vulnerable who are paying the price.

New Zealand to have world’s first smoke-free military by 2020

31 May, 17 | by Marita Hefler, News Editor

New Zealand has kicked off World No Tobacco Day by announcing a plan for its defence force to become the world’s first smoke-free military by 2020.

Initiatives to achieve the goal include banning the sale of cigarettes on camps and bases and making NZ defence force housing smokefree. It will also evolve camps and bases into smokefree environments, and continue to promote and support smoking cessation and the benefits of a smokefree NZ defence force.

The plan was announced at an event hosted by ASH New Zealand in Parliament to mark World No Tobacco Day. ASH Chair, Emeritus Professor Robert Beaglehole welcomed the plan. “This is a huge milestone, the New Zealand Defence Force is one of the largest employers in New Zealand with over 14,000 personnel, and the biggest Government department to go smokefree.”

The 2020 target date is five years ahead of the New Zealand government’s Smoke Free 2025 goal, which aims to reduce adult daily smoking prevalence to below 5%.

“ASH applauds the NZDF, not just for their commitment to the 2025 goal, but for showing the leadership to beat the goal by five years. We hope this decisive action can be an example to other government agencies and major employers of the type of leadership needed to reach Smokefree 2025” Beaglehole added.

While the 2020 goal is a welcome step forward, Beaglehole noted “Progress towards the Government’s smoke free 2025 goal is far too slow, especially for Maori and Pacifica, and poor people generally. There are also simple measures the government can introduce, such as increasing targeted mass and social media campaigns. ASH is committing our resources to supporting all policymakers to set a strong, evidence based roadmap to get us to Smokefree 2025”.

World No Tobacco Day 2016: Get Ready for Plain Packaging

31 May, 16 | by Marita Hefler, News Editor

This year for World No Tobacco Day, the World Health Organization is urging governments to build on advertising and promotion bans by introducing plain packaging of tobacco products.

The measure is the next logical step in stripping away any hint of glamour associated with smoking. It is also an important way of preventing packaging creating misleading suggestions of some tobacco products being less harmful. There is also evidence that plain packaging enhances the impact of graphic health warnings.

Evidence from Australia, the first country in the world to introduce plain packaging, demonstrates the effectiveness. The UK has now introduced plain packaging. Ireland and France have passed plain packaging legislation, and several other countries are set to follow.

Read more:

World No Tobacco Day – Special Isssue

30 May, 14 | by Becky Freeman, Web Editor

To mark World No Tobacco Day 2014, the BMJ has published a special online issue of Tobacco Control with the theme taxes, prices and illicit trade. The issue includes several open access research papers and editorials.

The complete table of contents can be found here.

We’d also like to take this opportunity to congratulate our Editorial Board chair, Professor Ken Warner, and Economics editor, Professor Frank Chaloupka on being awarded a WHO World No Tobacco Day Award.












On World No Tobacco Day (31 May), WHO calls on countries to raise taxes on tobacco to encourage users to stop and prevent other people from becoming addicted to tobacco. Based on 2012 data, WHO estimates that by increasing tobacco taxes by 50%, all countries would reduce the number of smokers by 49 million within the next 3 years and ultimately save 11 million lives.

Today, every 6 seconds someone dies from tobacco use. Tobacco kills up to half of its users. It also incurs considerable costs for families, businesses and governments. Treating tobacco-related diseases like cancer and heart disease is expensive. And as tobacco-related disease and death often strikes people in the prime of their working lives, productivity and incomes fall.

“Raising taxes on tobacco is the most effective way to reduce use and save lives,” says WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan. “Determined action on tobacco tax policy hits the industry where it hurts.”

The young and poor people benefit most

High prices are particularly effective in discouraging young people (who often have more limited incomes than older adults) from taking up smoking. They also encourage existing young smokers to either reduce their use of tobacco or quit altogether.

“Price increases are 2 to 3 times more effective in reducing tobacco use among young people than among older adults,” says Dr Douglas Bettcher, Director of the Department for Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases at WHO. “Tax policy can be divisive, but this is the tax rise everyone can support. As tobacco taxes go up, death and disease go down.”

Good for economies too

WHO calculates that if all countries increased tobacco taxes by 50% per pack, governments would earn an extra US$ 101 billion in global revenue.

“These additional funds could – and should – be used to advance health and other social programmes,” adds Dr Bettcher.

Countries such as France and the Philippines have already seen the benefits of imposing high taxes on tobacco. Between the early 1990s and 2005, France tripled its inflation-adjusted cigarette prices. This was followed by sales falling by more than 50%. A few years later the number of young men dying from lung cancer in France started to go down. In the Philippines, one year after increasing taxes, the Government has collected more than the expected revenue and plans to spend 85% of this on health services.

Tobacco taxes are a core element of tobacco control

Tobacco use is the world’s leading preventable cause of death. Tobacco kills nearly 6 million people each year, of which more than 600 000 are non-smokers dying from breathing second-hand smoke. If no action is taken, tobacco will kill more than 8 million people every year by 2030, more than 80% of them among people living in low- and middle-income countries.

Raising taxes on tobacco in support of the reduction of tobacco consumption is a core element of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), an international treaty that entered into force in 2005 and has been endorsed by 178 Parties. Article 6 of the WHO FCTC, Price and Tax Measures to Reduce the Demand for Tobacco, recognizes that “price and tax measures are an effective and important means of reducing tobacco consumption by various segments of the population, in particular young persons”.

World No Tobacco Day: a wrap up of reports and pictures from around the world

4 Jul, 13 | by Marita Hefler, News Editor


World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) is held every year on 31 May. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and partners everywhere highlight the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocate for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption. In 2013, the theme was ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

A comprehensive ban of all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship is required under the WHO Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) for all Parties. Evidence shows that comprehensive advertising bans lead to reductions in the numbers of people starting and continuing smoking.  Statistics show that banning tobacco advertising and sponsorship is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce tobacco demand and thus a tobacco control “best buy”.Despite the effectiveness of comprehensive bans, only 6% of the world’s population was fully protected from exposure to the tobacco industry advertising, promotion and sponsorship tactics in 2010.

To help reduce tobacco use, comprehensive advertising, promotion and sponsorship bans work to counteract:

  • the deceptive and misleading nature of tobacco marketing campaigns;
  • the unavoidable exposure of youth to tobacco marketing;
  • the failure of the tobacco industry to effectively self-regulate; and
  • the ineffectiveness of partial bans.

Attempts by the tobacco industry to undermine the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) are becoming ever more aggressive. For example, where jurisdictions have banned advertising of tobacco products through point-of-sale displays – known as tobacco “powerwalls” – or banned the advertising and promotional features of tobacco packaging through standardised packaging, the tobacco industry has sued governments in national courts and through international trade mechanisms. The tobacco industry also uses sponsorship and especially corporate social responsibility tactics to trick public opinion into believing in their respectability and good intentions while they manoeuver to hijack the political and legislative process. Click here to read more about WHO WNTD 2013 and see campaign materials.

World No Tobacco Day Awards

Every year, WHO recognizes individuals or organisations for their accomplishments in the area of tobacco control. This year, Mr Paul Kasereka Lughembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Honourable Dr Pradit Sintavanarong, Minister of Public Health, the Kingdom of Thailand were recognised for the WHO Director-General Special awards. His Excellency the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Republic of Turkey received the WHO Director-General’s Special Recognition certificate. Click here to read a full list of awards given in all six WHO regions.

Other events by country/region:

Bolivia: the Health and Sport Ministry, in coordination with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), WHO, the  Municipal Government of La Paz, the Bolivian Police and Armed Forces organised a  festival to inform people of the negative effects that nicotine produces on the  body. WNTD was also an opportunity highlight the findings from a study which showed increased smoking among young women, and a lower age of initiation. Read more here.

Congo: The tobacco control group ROCAT in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Population and WHO Country celebrated World No Tobacco Day 2013 with a series of events including a press Conference by the Minister of Health briefing, outreach campaigns, and TV and radio coverage. Read more here.

Gabon: WNTD in Gabon focused on a number of high level meetings held with key authorities including the President of the National Assembly and the Minister Delegate to Health. Held from 28-30 May, the meetings were a chance to discuss government policy making in relation to tobacco control. Read more here.

India: a range of events were held around the country, including a national stakeholder consultation on improving the implementation of TAPS bans, rallies, skits, art exhibitions and ‘walls of shame’ of TAPS violations. Read more here.

Jamaica: An outside broadcast addressing tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS) was held, as well as a national forum. Read more here.

Pacific Islands: The Cook Islands received a WHO WNTD award for its progress in tobacco control since ratifying the FCTC in 2004. Several countries also participated in a project designed to encourage sharing of information by email.  Participating countries chose a letter from W, N, T or D to display as part of their activities with a flag in the photo.  The intention is to make a poster of tobacco control in the Pacific by “stitching” the photos together featuring the letters to spell out WNTD 2013. Read more here.

Pakistan: Activities included seminars, orientation sessions, rallies/walks, speech/poster/sports competitions, interactive theatre, signature campaigns, banner/poster displays, picketing & meetings. Participants included local government officials, law enforcement authorities, parliamentarians, health & education government departments, media, lawyers, civil society organizations, youth and community members. In Islamabad,  a 150 feet long banner carrying signatures from tobacco control activists from all over the country demanding strict tobacco control laws and their effective implementation was displayed. Read more here.

Poland: A seminar  to integrate efforts for effective enforcement of ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship took place on 29 May. It was accompanied by a photographic exhibition featuring examples of tobacco industry violation and circumvention of TAPS bans at sport events and other cultural, educational, social and political activities. Read more here.

Romania: World No Tobacco Day in Romania highlighted the European Commission’s ‘Ex-smokers are unstoppable’ campaign. A media roundtable was held, where two doctors discussed the benefits of smoking cessation. Two ex-smokers also shared their personal stories of quitting smoking. Read more here.

Switzerland: NGO CIPRET ran an advertisement campaign in the canton of Geneva for WNTD with posters displayed in over 350 locations throughout the city and canton, and large ads in newspaper. As Switzerland has very weak legislation concerning tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship the campaign was somewhat provocative – and provoked a strong reaction from the advertising industry. This post also contains an outline of events at WHO headquarters. Read more here.

The Philippines: The Philippines took a creative and confronting approach to WNTD. In the capital Manila, commuters were stunned to find grisly crime scenes in various locations in the metro. The cause of death: tobacco. The tobacco ‘crime scenes’ were actually art installations vividly illustrating what tobacco companies don’t want people to see: smoking kills. Read more here.

USA: Is this the world that tobacco ads hope to build? This the question asked by a video produced by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH). Click here.

Vietnam: social media, a bike rally and public transport get the message out. The national week of Tobacco Control in Vietnam kicked off with a ceremony held on 25 May, which attracted 450 participants from the National Assembly, Government Offices, related Ministries, WHO Vietnam, Tobacco Control Working Groups, mass media and students. Colourful local events were also held in Hue and Nha Trang cities. Read more here.


World No Tobacco Day India: rallies, art, skits, walls of shame and policy progress

4 Jul, 13 | by Marita Hefler, News Editor



National: Government and NGOs join hands to completely ban Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship (TAPS)

Credit: Nikunj Sharma, HRIDAY

A national level multi-stakeholder consultation was held in New Delhi, at which the government and NGOs resolved in favour of a complete ban on advertising, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS) of tobacco products. The health secretary of the ministry of health and family welfare, Shri Keshav Desiraju while inaugurating the wall of shame said: “We will issue guidelines to the departments concerned to ensure that appropriate action is taken to prevent violation of TAPS”.

The intent of the consultation was to deliberate on development of national guidelines/recommendations for a ban on TAPS and effective enforcement of Section 5 of COTPA – the Indian tobacco control law, which prohibits any form of direct or indirect TAPS. State Focal Points (Tobacco Control), State Consultants (NTCP), State WHO Consultants and civil society organizations working on tobacco control, from nearly 15 sates of the country attended the consultation.

Major highlights of the consultation included:

  • Unveiling of A ‘Wall of Shame’ – a photo exhibition of TAPS violations
  • Release of an advocacy film      covering various kinds of TAPS violations
  • Release of an advocacy toolkit

The consultation was organized by HRIDAY (Health Related Information Dissemination Amongst Youth) and Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI) in collaboration with The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), GoI and World Health Organization Country Office for India.

Tamil Nadu: Illustrations to counter challenges against Tobacco

Credit: S Cyril Alexander, Mary Anne Charity Trust

Mary Anne Charity Trust (MACT) is an NGO in Tamil Nadu state which works actively in the advocacy of change in policies related to tobacco. MACT along with Tamil Nadu State Tobacco Control Cell, Cancer Society India and other NGOS organised “Tamil Nadu- Illustrators for Tobacco Control,” on May 31 to commemorate World No Tobacco Day.

The Mayor of Chennai Corporation, Honourable Saidai Samiyappan Duraisamy inaugurated the event and gave the key note address. The mayor appreciated the goal of the event to take the art works to the government schools and educate the children about the danger of consuming tobacco.

20 illustrators joined to create art works on various tobacco related concepts. They used their creative skills to create awareness on the negative effects of tobacco products. They addressed key issues like negative effects of smoking, health problems caused due to tobacco products, and economic loss of the smokers’ family.

The public got an opportunity to see the illustrators in action. They gathered around the illustrators with curiosity and were much thrilled about the work that was carried out. The event met with its objective when the public enthusiastically discussed about tobacco and its ill effects.

The illustrations that were created will serve as knowledge building tool in exhibitions conducted in schools across the state in an effort to educate the kids on the ill effects of tobacco.

MACT photo 1 MACT photo 2

















Lucknow, Mumbai and Kanpur activities organised by the Cancer Aid Society

Credit: Preeti Gupta and Neha Tripathi, Cancer Aid Society India

WNTD was busy in Lucknow. Activities included a rally, a cancer screening camp, and a ‘wall of shame’ of violations of India’s TAPS ban.  This was followed by a pledge for non-smoking and quiz competition. Similar activities, also organised by the Cancer Aid Society, were held in Mumbai and Kanpur.

















New Delhi: poster and skit competitions

Credit: Rita Thokchom, Indian Cancer Society

The Indian Cancer Society, Delhi, organised a poster and skit competition, held in the lead up to WNTD. Some of the photos of the winners are below:

Indian Cancer Society pic 2Indian Cancer society photo 1

World No Tobacco Day in the Western Pacific

29 Jun, 13 | by Marita Hefler, News Editor


Report credit: Annabel Lyman, FCA Pacific Island Countries Coordinator

Every year, WHO recognizes individuals or organisations in each of the six WHO Regions for their accomplishments in the area of tobacco control. There were 6 awardees in the Western Pacific region this year including the Cook Islands Ministry of Health. The Cook Islands ratified the FCTC in 2004, and was the first Pacific Island country to produce and work toward a national Tobacco Control Action Plan. Among other successes, areas where the country has made great strides in the past year include a tobacco tax increase and successful launch of a unique Blue Ribbon campaign.

Several countries participated in a project designed to encourage sharing of information by email.  Participating countries chose a letter from W, N, T or D to display as part of their activities with a flag in the photo.  The intention is to make a poster of tobacco control in the Pacific by “stitching” the photos together featuring the letters to spell out WNTD 2013.

A full report and pictures of activities in many of the countries in the region can be downloaded here: WNTD booklet – pacific

Highlights include:

  • Cook Islands – The ministry of health sponsored a poem and story competition as well as quizzes at Titi-kaveka College and Avarua school, with prizes for winning students. The MOH promoted tips on how to stop smoking and how to prevent youth from starting.
  • Palau – a run was held promoting WNTD. The letter W was chosen to promote the event; as runners/walkers crossed the finish line, they received their W. Taped to the back was a raffle ticket.
  • Federated States of Micronesia Kosrae – a policy makers’ advocacy meeting was held to discuss Article 13 of the FCTC, and a plan was developed to push for passage of a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.
  • Niue – Led by Miss Niue contestants, school children created slogans, cheers and dances. The Director of Health and Minister of Health joined in with an impromptu comedy piece, and the Minister committed to championing the passage of a Tobacco Control Bill.
  • Papua New Guinea – primary school students developed a banner and posters, which were then used in a walk. This was followed by a series of drama performances and poem readings.
  • Marshall Islands – national and local police teamed up with tobacco control coalition team members to remove all tobacco advertising and promotion signs and illegal point of sales displays and replace them with WNTD posters provided by WHO in Fiji. There was also a walkathon, followed by a ‘battle of the bands’ for the best song about health. The winning band will record their song and have it broadcast on the radio.
  • Samoa – a bike ride around the island was the culmination of a week of campaigning and advocating for smoke free buildings.
  • Tuvalu – a week of community awareness was undertaken in schools, workplaces, community halls and businesses. On WNTD itself, two government officials were part of a radio broadcast as Quit Smoking Champions.
  • Solomon Islands – following a range of public awareness raisings activities in the lead up to WNTD, a public parade was held, with speeches by government officials, the WHO representative, and a youth representative. There was also a singing performance and live radio talk. Champion awards were presented to advocates of the SI tobacco free initiative, including government agencies, a church, taxi service and global youth leadership group.
  • Vanuatu – soccer and volleyball tournaments were held for young people. There was also an official event with speakers from the ministry of health and WHO, which was broadcast on national radio.
  • Tonga – The main hospital was launched as the first tobacco free hospital in Tonga. This was covered by both television and radio, and was complemented by billboard displays at the hospital and near the airport. A school was also launched as the first tobacco free school.
  • Kiribati – as the first tobacco act was passed in April 2013, this formed the theme for Kiribati, ‘Support Tobacco Act’ (Kaota am boutoka nakon te Tua ibukin Kauarerekean Kabonganaan te Baake iaon Kiribati.) To raise awareness, activities included radio shows, press releases, awareness programs, a smoke free basketball tournament and public program with a drama show, health check and quiz.
  • Fiji – promotion of new cessation assistance services was held at a health centre, along with news about new pictorial health warnings and tobacco free sites. A skit about the physical and social impacts of tobacco use was performed by a local youth group in collaboration with nursing school students.

Romania World No Tobacco Day: ‘Ex-smokers are unstoppable’

29 Jun, 13 | by Marita Hefler, News Editor


Photos and report credit: European Commission (

World No Tobacco Day in Romania highlighted the European Commission’s ‘Ex-smokers are unstoppable’ campaign. A media roundtable was held, where two doctors discussed the benefits of smoking cessation. Two ex-smokers also shared their personal stories of quitting smoking. The event was attended by numerous media representatives, and obtained massive print, online, radio and TV coverage in Romania.

The event drew on the findings of a study conducted through the ‘ex-smokers are unstoppable’ campaign. Professor Doctor Florin Mihaltan, President of the Romanian Lung Society and one of the doctors who spoke at the roundtable, said: “The European Commission’s Ex-Smokers are Unstoppable campaign, through which this study was conducted, shifts the main focus from the dangers of smoking to the benefits of smoking cessation. These numbers illustrate the realities of life as a smoker, as well as an increase in people’s desire to quit.”

Romania pic 1





Professor Dr Florin Mihaltan (centre) with ex-smokers Cristina Matei (l) and Iulia Pop (r)

The majority of smokers who took part in the survey say that they smoke between 70 and 140 cigarettes per week (10-20 cigarettes per day), a figure which applies to 32.4% of Romanian smokers. Over half of Romanian smokers (56.3%) say that they want to quit their habit within a year. 80% of Romanians believe that willpower is the key to quitting while 43% identify motivation as the most important factor.

About 28% of Romanian smokers find it difficult to resist the urge to smoke when they are enjoying tea or coffee. 27% have a hard time socialising with other smokers when trying to quit, while 22% are most tempted by the “morning cigarette”. When asked how they would feel if they never smoked again, 42% of Romanians said that they would feel proud. Another 42% believe they would feel healthier and more in control of their health.  Over half of the 1,000 people questioned in Romania believe that smoking gets in the way of certain activities and 20% of respondents believe that smoking affects sporting performance. Half of smokers even avoid flying because of their habit.

Doctor Ioana Munteanu, President of the Tobacco Section of the Romanian Lung Society, who also spoke at the roundtable, said “Where the process of quitting smoking is concerned, it is very important for us to be aware of both the internal and the external factors which facilitate it. It is very interesting to see that a very large proportion of the respondents believe that the secret of quitting resides within themselves. Motivation plays a very important role, and identifying its sources represents the key to success when going through a nicotine withdrawal episode.”

Romania pic 2





Dr Ioana Munteanu (l) and ex-smoker Iulia Pop.


The European Commission’s “Ex-Smokers are Unstoppable” campaign inspires smokers to kick the habit by celebrating the achievements of ex-smokers from all over Europe. It offers people free help to stop smoking through iCoach, a free online stop-smoking tool based on extensive scientific research and clinical experience of psychologists and communication experts. Since the launch of the programme in June 2011, a total of 380,819 Europeans have registered to iCoach 22,325 of whom are Romanians. Romania ranks 4th among EU countries for total iCoach registrations. The self-reported quit rate for people signing up to iCoach is 40%. This is the proportion of people who classed themselves as a non-smoker after 3 months on the programme.

World No Tobacco Day Vietnam: social media, a bike rally and public transport get the message out

29 Jun, 13 | by Marita Hefler, News Editor


Contributors and photos: Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance; Stephen Hamill, World Lung Foundation; Tran Vu, Vietnam Public Health Association; Nguyen Xuan Lam, Vietnam Public Health Association.

The national week of Tobacco Control in Vietnam kicked off with a ceremony held on 25 May. Organized by the Vietnam Committee on Smoking or Health (VINACOSH), it attracted 450 participants from the National Assembly, Government Offices, related Ministries, WHO Vietnam, Tobacco Control Working Groups, mass media and students.

Dr Sarah England from Bloomberg Philanthropies expressed congratulations for the approval of Vietnam’s new tobacco control law and conveyed an official letter of Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York city to the Vietnam Prime Minister for the great achievements of Vietnam in curbing the tobacco epidemic. The Vice Minister of Health, Vietnam conveyed his appreciation and acknowledged the considerable support of all ministries, sectors and mass organizations, international donors (Bloomberg Philanthropies, SEATCA) for the cause of tobacco control in Vietnam. Click here to read more and see photos from the event at the SEATCA webpage.

HĂ  N?i: L? mĂ­t tinh hu?ng ?ng NgĂ y Th? gi?i KhĂ´ng thu?c lĂĄ (31/5







Social media for public engagement

VINACOSH, together with a coalition of Vietnamese health groups and international NGOs including the World Lung Foundation, collaborated in an innovative effort to use online media to engage the public around implementation of a new smoke-free law.

The effort combined broadcast television spots with an online petition at (‘smoke free Vietnam’) and Facebook page to grow awareness of which types of public spaces were covered by the new law, and to allow people to pledge to support the law and share the campaign with their friends through social media. The effort also included a mobile short code that allowed supporters to SMS in their support. Vietnam has 143 mobile subscribers for every 100 inhabitants, so learning how to best use mobiles to support tobacco control advocacy is very important for the success of future campaigns.

Mobile and social media efforts were particularly energised by a partnership with the Youth Union of Vietnam , a steadfast supporter of tobacco control policies in Vietnam, who sent out the word and provided ‘on the ground support’ in the form of hundreds of youth demonstrating at press conferences, attending campaign events, using social media and SMS to build supporters for the online campaign, and going business-to-business to provide smokefree signs and alert owners of their new obligations under the law. Already, almost 3000 supporters have joined the community online, and the 500 person Facebook community is growing fast, with a vibrant community – mostly high school youth – who are sharing photos and ideas about tobacco control on the page.

Hue City (Central Vietnam)

The Hue Municipal People’s Committee in collaboration with the Vietnam Public Health Association hosted WNTD and national No Tobacco Week. The launch event was held with about 300 participants from the health sector, youth union, women’s union, labour union and delegates from provincial people’s committee, city leaders, representatives from government departments and other organisations. ‘Smoke-free city’ signage on all the municipal public transportation was also organized, with 1600 public transportation vehicles including taxis, buses, passenger cars, pedicabs and tourist boats to be badged with the “smoke-free city” sign in coming weeks.

A workshop on ‘Evaluating the implementation of smoke-free program in Hue city’ was also held on May 27th. This was followed by outreach to public facilities to raise public awareness about the availability and implementation of smoke free policies in Vietnam.

Nha Trang City (Central Vietnam)

A bike parade was held on June 9th 2013 with the theme ‘Environment protection and smoke-free Nha Trang city’. Supported by Nha Trang Municipal People’s Committee in collaboration with Vietnam Public Health Association and Khanh Hoa Provincial Public Health Association, the event attracted 2000 participants including many young people, as well as Mr Takeshi Kasai, Representative of WHO in Vietnam.

There were several other events including 500 balloons dropping with the message ‘environment protection and Smoke-free Nha Trang city’; a no smoking flash mob; dancing and some entertainment shows.

Vietnam pic 2 Vietnam picture 1

Bolivia: World No Tobacco Day focuses on youth

29 Jun, 13 | by Marita Hefler, News Editor


Translation from original Spanish article kindly provided by Stan Shatenstein.

The Bolivian news website laRazón reported that for World No Tobacco Day, the Health and Sport Ministry, in coordination with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), WHO, the  Municipal Government of La Paz, the Bolivian Police and Armed Forces organised a  festival to inform people of the negative effects that nicotine produces on the  body. Medical school graduates of the Universidad Mayor de San AndrÊs and Escuela Nacional de Salud also participated in the event that took place in the Plaza Camacho in La Paz, where music was provided by the group Bajo  Fianza.

The slogan chosen for this year’s WNTD was “Ban all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship” and this was adopted by 19 countries, including Panamá and Colombia, to reduce tobacco use. Article 13 of the FCTC establishes a “comprehensive ban of all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship” that “would reduce the consumption of  tobacco products”

The WNTD slogan will also be used in the country to stop tobacco companies from recruiting younger smokers.

A translation of the rest of the article is below (original link in Spanish here).


Study reveals young people now begin smoking at a younger  age

A study has shown that the age of initiation for smoking has gone down from  14.6 to 13.7 years of age and there has been an increase of smoking among girls  (young women).

According to data from the Latin American Centre for Scientific Study  (Centro Latinoamericano de Investigación Científica, or Celin) going back two  decades, tobacco use began, on average, at 14.6 years of age while the latest  statistics, from 2011, show that Bolivian adolescents now start at 13.7 years of  age. The study by Celin also points out the increasingly problematic tobacco use by girls. Twenty years ago, 14.8% of young women smoked compared to 43.6% of young men, a gap of 28.8%. By 2011, that gap had shrunk to 9.9%.

The data were gathered in some twenty cities across the country and looked at 12,254 students between the ages of 12 and 21.

The Vice-Minister of Health Promotion, MartĂ­n Maturano, noted that the government was taking action to put a stop to tobacco use: “We first want to inform people of the health effects of smoking. Tobacco contains 3,600 substances – nearly one hundred of those are toxic – as well as nicotine, which is addictive.”

He explained that an ongoing communication policy is being implemented through college health services and also noted that eight graphic warnings had recently been added to cigarette packs showing the different risks associated with the product.

Willy Alanoca, in charge of Drug Use Prevention at the Ministry of Health pointed out the tobacco companies specifically try to hook the youngest kids.  “The Bolivian tobacco industry reaches the youngest kids by giving them CDs, iPods, backpacks and flash drives. They want to reach this audience, not 40-to-50-year-old addicted smokers. The teens are going to replace those smokers who are killed by their tobacco use or who quit.”

According to Mr Alanoca, the Ministry’s study of ‘Tobacco industry negligence and strategy in Bolivia’ gathered images of minors selling this unhealthy product. He also criticized the industry’s use of concerts and other promotional events. “It’s precisely this type of event that can make teens feel attracted to cigarettes. The marketing campaigns aim at this target audience.”

Another analysis showed high levels of air contamination in discotheques in six cities, Alanoca confirmed. He also objected to the fact that club owners do not enforce the rules mandating smoke-free public places, especially those where young people are present.

The other aspect of the law being violated is the prohibition on selling cigarettes at locations near colleges and universities.

The Anti-tobacco Law of 2005 ratified the WHO FCTC and created the Inter-institutional Commission on Tobacco Control and Prevention.

Smoke-free spaces not being respected

Willy Alanoca went to a restaurant and sat down in an area marked “for non-smokers”. However, two smokers were sitting nearby smoking. Alanoca complained but the owner sided with the smokers.

Alanoca explained there are no smoke-free public areas in Bolivia. He insisted there should not be smoking and no-smoking areas (next to each other) because “the smoke doesn’t know how to read but, rather, goes where the wind takes it.”

Martín Maturano, the Vice-Minister of Health Promotion noted that other rules also fall short. “It’s forbidden to sell singles or partial packs, but this practice continues.” As well, kiosks on the street feature tobacco ads even though this is forbidden.

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