World heritage sites in Asia go smoke-free


Malacca, Malaysia 4 December 2015: Twelve Heritage Sites and cities joined hands to step up their initiatives to become smoke free to protect both public health and historical buildings.

The Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) and the Malaysian Health Promotion Board (MySihat) in close collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) in the Western Pacific Regional and the Malacca State Health Department brought together twelve heritage sites in the region to share updates, challenges, strategies, and plans to implement a smoke-free policy in the different world heritage sites and cities at a two day workshop in Malacca, Malaysia on 3-4 December.

“The first regional smoke-free workshop for world heritage sites and cities happened in 2011 in the smoke-free UNESCO World Heritage Site of Malacca, the first smoke-free site in Malaysia. To date, seven of Malaysia’s states have already implemented or in the process of implementing and adopting smoke-free policies and among these are the states of Malacca and Penang, where the UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Malacca and Georgetown are located,” said Dr. Manimaran A/L Krishnan Kaundan, MySihat CEO.

“MySihat is a key mover of the smoke-free initiatives in Malaysia and as a statutory body under the Ministry of Health (MOH), we are playing an important role to support the policy direction of the MOH by undertaking the tasks to enable NGOs to become catalysts of change in influencing healthy public policy to curb and denormalize the smoking habits of Malaysians,” said MySihat Chairman, Hon. Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr Hj Mohd Nasir Mohd Ashraf.

“Declaring a world heritage site smoke-free will definitely boost tourism. More importantly, it will also aid in preserving the old monuments and buildings as the ban will reduce pollution in the area and promote a clean and healthy environment for its residents and the tourists,” remarked HE Mey Marady, advisor to APSARA (Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor).

“We are very proud that the UNESCO World Heritage Sites or Cities of Luang Prabang and Vat Phou in Lao PDR, Halong and Hoi An in Vietnam, Angkor in Cambodia and Borobudur and Prambanan Temples in Indonesia as well as Histori Centre of Macao and Bagan in Myanmar have been declared smoke-free. We hope that more will be added to the list of smoke-free heritage sites and cities,” said Dr. Domilyn C. Villareiz, SEATCA’s Smoke-free Program Manager.

“In the region, most of countries have comprehensive laws in place to create wider and more effective health zones featuring smoke-free workplaces, public transport, restaurants, bars and other public places. We hope this workshop will enrich the knowledge and know-how of the heritage site authorities in implementing smoke-free programs,” added Dr Villareiz.


For more information, contact:

Wendell Balderas, Media and Communications Manager, SEATCA

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