Brunei: AFPTC champions a smoke-free ASEAN

Chairperson of the 3rd AFPTC, Dr Hjh Anie Haryani Hj Abd Rahman delivers her welcoming speech to the participating members of the meeting at the opening ceremony of AFPTC at Rizqun International Hotel yesterday. Picture: BT/Low Leng May

THE third meeting of the ASEAN Focal Points on Tobacco Control (AFPTC) began yesterday with Brunei holding chairmanship of the three-day meeting to discuss developments and initiatives on activities to push forward a smoke-free ASEAN community.

Some 30 participants, consisting of technical members of ASEAN countries and ASEAN Secretariat as well as delegations from partner organisations and international agencies, attended the opening ceremony of the meeting held at The Rizqun International Hotel at The Mall, Gadong yesterday.

 

The AFPTC is a working group established in 2010 under the Health Cooperation Activities, ASEAN Socio-cultural Community Blueprint aimed at reviewing the status and progress of the Bi-annual work plan as well as the formulation of the subsequent work plan, centred around issues related to tobacco control.

“Despite its age, it (AFPTC) has been very active in its activities of the bi-annual work plan. A number of these activities have been successfully carried out last year with more being planned for this year, said chairperson of the meeting, Dr Hjh Anie Haryani Hj Abd Rahman during the opening ceremony.

Yesterday’s session saw a report on the achievements of the previous working group delivered by outgoing chair, Vietnam, as well as adoption of agenda for the current meeting. Members also discussed matters brought up at the previous meeting held last year and at the 6th Senior Officials Meeting on Health Development.

Among other items on the agenda were a review of the updates from partners and ASEAN Sectoral Bodies Cooperation in Tobacco Control as well as resolutions on the implementation of activities under the ASEAN Bi-annual Work Plan on Tobacco Control 2011-2012.

Over the next two sessions, participants will discuss strategies on price and tax measures to reduce demand for tobacco and strategies for sustainable funding for tobacco control and health promotion in ASEAN countries.

Members will also be looking into the packaging and labelling of tobacco products to further discourage the public from smoking and to discuss ways to tackle illicit trade of tobacco products, among other things.

Dr Hjh Anie Haryani said this meeting will be conducted back to back with three workshops related to tobacco control. The Seminar Workshop for the AFPTC on Protection from Exposure to Tobacco Smoke will be led by Malaysia, while a follow-up workshop on Protecting Tobacco Policy from Tobacco Industry Interference will be headed by Thailand and the Philippines will lead a follow-up workshop on Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship.

Attending the opening ceremony as the guest of honour was the Acting Director-General of Health Services from the Ministry of Health, Pg Dr Hj Md Khalifah Pg Hj Ismail.The Brunei Times