Smoke-free Cities ASEAN Network launched in Davao City

July 8, 2013/Davao City: Davao City, the first completely smoke-free city in Southeast Asia, plays host to a regional meeting that will strengthen the movement to curb tobacco use throughout Southeast Asia.

Delegates from Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam will converge in Davao from July 8 to 10, and share lessons and best practices to implement and strengthen smoke-free policies in their respective communities.

By the end of the conference titled,  “SMOKE-FREE LAWS: Strengthening its Enforcement Towards Building Model Smoke-free Cities in the ASEAN”, the Southeast Asian delegates will launch the “Smoke-Free Cities ASEAN Network” or SCAN. The coalition will give support and strengthen policies and efforts to rid public places all over Southeast Asia of toxic tobacco smoke.

The City of Davao is a fitting venue for the SCAN initiative, as the city is recognized as the first metropolitan city to be smoke-free not only in the Philippines but the ASEAN region.  SCAN aims to be a venue to consolidate efforts in expanding, promoting smoke-free cities and ensuring proper enforcement of the same.

“We are pleased to be here in Davao City, the Philippines today, and much privileged to be holding this timely gathering of tobacco control movers from the ASEAN region.  Davao City is a city to emulate in many aspects, specially in their smoke-free efforts, and we are proud to host delegates from all over Southeast Asia” said Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) director Bungon Ritthiphakdee.

The delegates gathered in Davao – anti-tobacco and health experts from governments, civil society, and the academe – will share their experience in the promotion of smoke-free environments. They will look into crafting better laws and policies, and identify challenges confronting each others programs. The conference will also identify gaps in the existing laws, with an eye towards strengthening the policy environments in Southeast Asia.

All countries in the ASEAN, save for Indonesia, are parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, (FCTC).  FCTC Article 8 (Protection from exposure to tobacco smoke), commits all the signatories to establishing 100% smoke-free environments.(ENDS).

For more on the SEATCA Smoke-free ASEAN program, visit: https://seatca.org/?page_id=706

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