Ministry of Health: Smoking Kills 11 Lives Per Minute

(22 May) Dr. Cholnarn Srikaew, Deputy Minister of Public Health, along with Dr. Nima Asgari, representative of World Health Organization (WHO) in Thailand, staged a press conference on the activities in upcoming World No Tabacco Day, 31 May.

The theme of this year′s campaign is said to be Ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

Dr.Cholnarn said recent reports by the WHO highlights the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption. Tobacco reportedly kills nearly six million people each year, a rate of 11 lives per minute,of which more than 600,000 are non-smokers dying from breathing second-hand smoke.

Survey of Thailand′s National Statistical Office in 2011 found that over 11.5 million people aged 15 years and over smoke,9.9 million of which are considered “addicted to cigarettes”, he said. Men smoke 20 times more than women, and Thai youth are starting to smoke at an earlier ageo f 15-24 years.

Dr.Cholnarn added that Thailand takes tobacco control measures seriously, especially picture warnings on cigarette packs in 2013. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Health issued the usage of label images and text warnings about the danger of smoking on both sides of the packaging, in 4 colors, the size covering 85% of the packaging, making this the largest tobacco package warning in the world.

Companies not showing the required label is punishable by a fine not exceeding 2,000 baht.