Laos sets up tobacco control fund

Laos has joined the ranks of Asean nations that have set up a fund to control tobacco usage.

Prakit Vathesatogkit, the secretary general of the International Network of Health Promotion Foundations, said on Wednesday that the Lao cabinet had established a tobacco control fund, that will receive a contribution of 2% of tobacco companies’ profits, along with a 200 kip (around 0.80 baht) price increase per pack.

Dr Prakit said Laos is the fifth Asean member to establish such a fund, after Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.

South Korea, Mongolia and Taiwan are the other Asian countries which have set up similar funds to control tobacco sales in order to reduce health concerns brought by tobacco consumption.

Tobacco control funds are rarely approved under normal government expenditure. As a result, many countries have enacted laws to form special funds for the purpose, as recommended by the World Health Organisation.

This is to reduce health problems and lower costs associated with treating tobacco-related diseases.