The smoking rate of young people in Laos below 15 years of age is on the rise even though the Law on Tobacco Control has been implemented since 2009.
Law on Tobacco Control, Secretariat of the National Committee for Tobacco Control, Associate Prof. Dr Phath Keungsaneth said on Monday that there were many reasons why the smoking among this group was increasing.
also important to socio-economic development due to the fact that if smokers are at risk of non- communicable diseases, money would be lost to medical bills.
The survey conducted by the National Institute of Public Health in 2015 was disclosed yesterday at a workshop on tobacco control to discuss how to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking.
“The first reason is due to the price of cigarettes in Laos still being low. It’s easy for young people to buy them,” said Dr Phath, also Director General of Hygiene and Health Promotion Department of the Ministry of Health.
During the one-day workshop, some 100 participants from Borikhamxay, Khammuan, Vientiane and Xaysomboun provinces as well as the capital also learned about the progress of the implementation of the Law on Tobacco Control.
The survey found that 50.8 percent of males aged 13-15 years old were smokers compared to the 43 percent of this age group that were smokers in 2012.
In addition, even though the Law on Tobacco Control has been implemented for seven years, punishing or fining smokers who light up in designated non-smoking areas has not yet been implemented.
This included information on Article 5.3 of World Health Organisation’s Framework on the International Convention for Tobacco Control regarding protecting policy on public health without intervention of the tobacco industry.
The survey also found that the smoking rate of females aged 13-15 was decreasing from 8.4 percent in 2012 to 7.1 percent in 2015.
In particular, there are still smokers who are smoking on public transportation including buses or in tuk tuks. Some government staff are still smoking inside their organisations while some smokers are still smoking on the grounds of public health institutes and educational institutes.
According to the World Health Organisation, smoking kills around six million people each year. In the Western Pacific Region, two people die every one minute while 13 people die per day in Laos.
The survey was conducted with smokers who are only using products from tobacco companies and did not include other forms of tobacco like leaves that are popular to smoke in more rural areas of the country.
As chairman of the meeting, Deputy Minister of Health Associate Prof. Dr Phouthone Moungpak said that tobacco control work is
The tobacco control meeting was held under the collaboration between the Ministry of Health, World Health Organisation and the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance.
Source: Vientiane Times