World No Tobacco Day 2013
Every year, on the 31st of May, World Health Organization celebrates World No-Tobacco Day. This year, the World Health Organization has selected "ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS)" as the theme of the Day. The tobacco industry spends tens of billions of dollars worldwide each year on advertising, promotion and sponsorship. A total ban on direct and indirect advertising, promotion and sponsorship, as provided in guidelines to Article 13 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, can substantially reduce tobacco consumption and protect people, particularly youths, from industry marketing tactics. To be effective, bans must be complete and apply to all marketing categories.
Trade in tobacco and tobacco products has rapidly expanded with the liberalization of international trade leading to rise in tobacco consumption across low and middle-income countries since the 1980s. Liberalization of trade therefore poses a major threat to global public health. Since more and more countries are enforcing their regulations on tobacco control in accordance with the provision of the WHOFCTC, tobacco industry and its supporters are increasingly relying on international trade agreements to thwart the tobacco control obligations.
A meeting of National Tobacco Control programme Managers was held at the Royal Banquet Hall in Thimphu, Bhutan from 10 to 12 July, 2012. Regional Director, Dr Samlee Plianbangchang gave the opening address and H.E. Mr Zangley Dukpa, Minister of Health, Bhutan to deliver the inaugural address. The meeting was attended by tobacco programme managers and focal persons from the Ministry of Health from all Member States and also representatives from civil society who are partners in tobacco control.
Regional Meeting on Countering Tobacco Industry Interference, WHO/SEARO,19-21 March 2013
There is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the interests of the tobacco industry and public health policy. The tobacco industry produces and promotes a product that has been scientifically proven to be highly addictive and harmful, which exacerbates social ills, including poverty. On the other hand, governments and the public health sector try to improve the health of the population by implementing measures to reduce tobacco use. As the countries work towards developing and enforcement of tobacco control measures, interference by the tobacco industry to counter these measures gets stronger. The four main components of the industry - the growing, manufacturing, distribution and selling components get involved in such interference in different ways. Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and its Guidelines recommend how such interference should be addressed. 19 delegates from different sectors of 10 countries of the WHO South East Asia Region attended Regional Meeting on Countering Tobacco Industry Interference, from 19-21 March 2013, at WHO/SEARO, New Delhi, to analyze this issue and formulate strategies to address such interference.