The agency this year chose two people from Asia, consisting of Dr Pradit and Sri Lankan Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena, for the World No Tobacco Day Award which was presented on Tuesday during a grand ceremony held in Colombo. The award recognizes their dedicated services towards tobacco control at the national and international levels.
During the ceremony, Dr Pradit said tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in both Thailand and Sri Lanka. He noted that over 6 million worldwide die from smoking each year, higher than the death toll from HIV.
After adopting a measure to enlarge graphic warning labels on cigarette packages, the minister cited recent studies as suggesting that the number of new smokers is on the decline. Anti-smoking groups have earlier expressed their support for the measure due to its effectiveness in deterring youth from taking up smoking.
Dr Pradit expressed his belief at the award ceremony that the Public Health Ministry will win cases filed by tobacco giant Philip Morris and other companies, which disapproved of the larger warning label.