Seoul prepares for international forum to curb smoking

About 1,000 world health experts and policy makers from 170 countries will gather in Seoul in November to discuss transnational collaboration in curbing smoking rates and tackling illnesses that stem from tobacco consumption.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare said Friday that the 5th Conference of the Parties to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control will be held at COEX in southern Seoul from Nov. 12-17.

“The conference will put Korea among the leading countries of the anti-smoking campaign,” said Han Sang-kyun, a ministry official. 

The WHO FCTC was adopted by the World Health Assembly on May 21, 2003, and entered into force on February 27, 2005, in response to the globalization of the tobacco consumption epidemic. It is an evidence-based treaty that reaffirms the right of all people to the highest standard of health. The act has also become effectuated in Korea in 2005. 

University students participating in anti-smoking campaigns form the number 100 to mark the upcoming World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control conference outside the Seoul city hall on Friday. (Yonhap News)

At the meeting the parties will discuss guidelines for the implementation of Article 6 of the WHO FCTC: “Price and tax measures to reduce the demand for tobacco” and regulations of the contents of tobacco products and regulation of tobacco product disclosures. Delegations will also study economically sustainable alternatives to tobacco growing and ways to control and prevent the use of smokeless tobacco products and electronic cigarettes.

Ahead of the largest international congress on health policy to be held in Korea in recent years, the government is gearing up to raise public awareness. 

In order to mark the D-100 of the event that fell on Friday, about 200 university students appointed as official supporters of anti-tobacco campaigns held a performance promoting the FCTC meeting in front of Seoul Station. They also handed out leaflets about the event at COEX and other major spots in the capital. 

The organizing committee also receives supporting messages with photos via fctc2012@gmail.com. Selected senders will receive a new iPad, gift vouchers or Starbucks gifticon, a coupon used on smartphones. 

 (baejisook@heraldm.com)

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