Bangkok, 5 July 2013 – The 12th Cigarettes and Health Conference has commenced with a call for legal amendments to ban cigarette advertisements, both directly and indirectly. The amendment is expected to close the legal loopholes in the cigarettes marketing strategy which allows manufacturers to deploy uncontrolled advertising tactics such as giving away cigarettes for free, and hiring attractive female representatives to sell tobacco.
The seminar was organized by the Tobacco Control Research and Knowledge Management Center, the Office of Tobacco Control, and the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, at the Miracle Grand Hotel in Bangkok, wih Deputy Public Health Minister Surachai Baojanya presiding over the opening ceremony.
According to the statistics presented to the conference, more than 31% of teenagers aged between 13 and15, were exposed to cigarette commercials, and 5.5% were given free samples.
Currently Thailand is obliged to the international code on cigarette advertisements, banning all direct methods such as placing ads on bill boards, broadcasting ads on television and radio. However, the local law does not provide public protection against indirect cigarette selling methods.
The conference suggested the most effective way to prevent exposure to cigarette ads to younger audience is to ban all types of ads & promotional activities, increasing tax, and raising public awareness about the danger of smoking cigarettes. Legal amendments must include a ban for tobacco companies to stop sponsoring all forms of corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.