Action on Smoking or Health (ASH)- Thailand organized a press conference to publicize upcoming activities during the World No Tobacco Day 2012. The objective of the event was to denormalize tobacco industry Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities to the general public in the form of social media such as posters, VDO clips, and short films.
A campaign spot “Closing the door on tobacco industry” portraits the notion that if the tobacco industry is not accepted in the community, then the tobacco industry will not be able to gain any profit from the public. A short file “Hero” introduced the idea that one would be ashamed if your father was part of the tobacco industry who makes profits while the people in the community suffer due to death and diseases. The clip, “Theme park of death” presents the idea that the tobacco industry always tries to advertise its product as fun and trendy.
Dr. Maureen E. Birmingham, WHO Thailand country representative. She emphasized that the subject of tobacco industry CSR activities is at times very difficult to explain to the general public. However, she hopes that through the social media activities that were presented, we will be able to increase the awareness of the public on this issue.
Ms. Bungon Ritthiphakdee, director of SEATCA pointed out that the tobacco industry gains their wealth from selling death and suffering to its customers. In 2010, 6 major tobacco companies total profit reached 35,000 million USD. This number equals to the profit of Coke, Microsoft, and McDonalds combined. Another piece of evidence that show the tobacco industry never truly cares about its customer is the quote from Chris Reiter, R.J. Reynolds Campaign Program Manager, U.S. 2003 “If you can market a product that kills people, you can sell anything”
Mr. Sirichai Phantana of the Ministry of Public Health, revealed to the press that the tobacco industry is always monitoring the law making process and try employ delay tactics as often as they can. To counter that, the Ministry of Public Health has put in place regulations that forbidden its personal to become involve with the tobacco industry in anyway. At the same time, the legal team is working very hard to reinforce the current tobacco control law to keep up with the tobacco industry.
Dr. Prakit Vathesatogkit, ASH Thailand, asked that Thai public pay more attention to the WHO FCTC Article 5.3 which emphasis on preventing interference from tobacco industry. It’s very encouraging to see the level of commitment shown by the Thai government in announcing that tobacco industry is prohibited from implementing any kinds of CSR activities in Thailand.
(translated by P. .Sitta, SEATCA from Thai release of ASH Thailand)