Public Health Ministry to revise tobacco laws

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BANGKOK, 27 August 2011  – The Ministry of Public Health will revise two tobacco control laws in order to fight a new effort by cigarette companies to appeal young smokers while the number of new smokers is increasing dramatically. 

Public Health Minister Wittaya Buranasiri confirmed that Thailand is speedily controlling tobacco consumption in line with the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The minister however admitted that the two tobacco control laws including the 1992 Cigarette Act and the 1992 Non-Smokers’ Health Protection Act, have been used for 19 years without revision and thereby cannot protect potential smokers from new persuasive tactics in the tobacco business.

Mr Wittaya said the ministry hence will amend the two laws and related announcements to be more up-to-date and compatible with global laws. The ministry will speed up tobacco law enforcement in Bangkok and the provinces as well as educate officials, entrepreneurs, and people particularly those in educational institutions, about anti-tobacco legislations.

The minister added that efforts will be made to open cigarette-quitting service at all health stations while alcohol and tobacco free communities will be developed nationwide in order to cut the number of new smokers, especially youth.

Based on a survey in 2009, 21% of Thais aged more than 15 years old or 12.5 million people were smokers. Second hand smokers could be found the most in fresh or flea markets at 54%, followed by at their homes at 39% and at workplaces at 27%.