BANGKOK, 18 May 2012 – Action on Smoking and Health Foundation has urged the government to forbid the tobacco industry from conducting social activities, in compliance with the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC). As the World No Tobacco Day is approaching on May 31st, anti smoking activists have reported that many tobacco companies in ASEAN have been conducting Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects to forge good relations with law makers in the countries they are located in. The activists said they are trying to create good image for themselves, making people believe that cigarettes are common in the society and reducing the no-smoking campaigns’ intensity. In the meantime, these cigarette companies are violating the FCTC, which indicates that social activities are considered advertisements.
Around 6 million people worldwide die from smoking yearly, 600,000 of those are second-hand smokers. In Thailand, around 500,000 new smokers are reported each year. Today there are 13 million Thai smokers, with most of them being in the range of 15-24 years of age. Over 48,000 Thais reportedly die from smoking every year.
Prakit Vathesatogkit from the Action on Smoking and Health Foundation is urging the Finance Ministry to impose law forbidding cigarette makers from holding social activities. He added government agencies should also reject any support from these companies, while the media should continue to raise awareness on dangers of tobacco.