Mayors, governors urge ASEAN cities to become 100% smoke-free

Krabi, Thailand, 14 October 2016: More than 200 tobacco control leaders and champions from all over the ASEAN gather in Krabi, Thailand from 13-14 October to strengthen and sustain their smoke-free campaigns to effectively protect people from the harms of secondhand tobacco smoke (SHS). 

“Recent studies has unequivocally established that exposure from tobacco smoke causes death, disease and disability. Tobacco kills around six (6) million people a year and this includes more than 600,000 non-smokers being exposed to SHS. Of all deaths attributable to SHS, 31% occur among children and 64% occur among women. The ASEAN region alone is home to 121 million adult smokers. Clearly, the Parties to the WHO-Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) especially in the ASEAN need to step up their game and act now to address this epidemic,” said Ms. Bungon Ritthiphakdee, Executive Director of SEATCA.

Latest research also reveals that toxins from tobacco smoke persists in smokers’ homes for at least six months after they quit and remain a threat to non-smoking residents, particularly children and babies. Third-hand-smoke lingers long after quitting, as deadly carcinogenic substances remain in sofas, walls and carpets.

SEATCA’s Tobacco Control Atlas revealed that many young people in the region are exposed to SHS in and outside their homes. In Indonesia, 68.8% of the youth are exposed to SHS at home while 78.1% are exposed to SHS outside. In Thailand, 45.7% are exposed to SHS at home while 67.6% are exposed to SHS outside. In Vietnam, youth exposure to SHS at home is at 58.5% and 71.2% are exposed to SHS outside their homes.

In the region, common places with SHS smoke exposure are homes, workplaces, restaurants, public transportation, government buildings and health facilities.

Article 8 of the WHO FCTC requires Parties to protect their citizens from exposure to tobacco smoke. To assist Parties fulfill their obligations, the Southeast Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) in close collaboration with the Province of Krabi, Thailand convened this 4th Regional Workshop on Smoke-Free Cities and the Summit of Smoke-free Leaders and Champions in the ASEAN Region. The workshop mainly aims to help the region sustain its smoke-free cities campaign.

“It is also our hope, through this workshop, to heighten the awareness of political leaders on the importance of creating and adopting comprehensive, well-enforced smoke-free policies to effectively protect people from the harms of SHS and help smokers to reduce smoking or quit,” remarked Ms. Ritthiphakdee.

To provide a strong support system and a venue for smoke-free leaders to share experiences and learn from each other’s best practices, the Smoke-Free Cities ASEAN Network (SCAN) was launched in 2013 in Davao City, Philippines, during the 1st regional workshop on smoke-free cities.

“We are very proud that since the launching of SCAN 3 years ago and with more mayors and governors signing the pledge of commitment, it has now grown to having 45-member cities from 8 countries. We hope that through this workshop, we will be able to encourage more cities, municipalities, and provinces all over ASEAN to join our network,” said Rep. Jose Enrique Garcia III, Congressman from the 2nd District of Bataan, Philippines, and the current president of Smoke-Free Cities ASEAN Network (SCAN) – Philippines Chapter.

“Leaders must realize that only 100 percent smoke-free environments fully protect the public from the lethal effects of tobacco smoke.  Making our cities, municipalities and provinces smoke-free is not only good for the health of the public, but also good for the economy and the whole country,” he added.

Related Links:

Cigarette Smoke Toxins Stay in Home After Quitting

The ASEAN Tobacco Control Atlas Second Edition

Guidelines for implementation of Article 8

Wendell C Balderas, Media and Communications Officer – SEATCA
Email: | Mobile: +63 999 881 2117 ##