Tuesday, March 20, 2012

World Conference on Tobacco or Health opens in S'pore

SINGAPORE : The 15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health has opened in Singapore in the presence of some the world's most influential leaders.

They include director-general of the World Health Organisation, Dr Margaret Chan, ASEAN secretary-general, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, and Health Ministers and national representatives from across the globe.

Opening the conference on Tuesday, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said Singapore's efforts alone will come to naught if there is no global consensus and cooperation on tobacco control.

He said: "We need to work hand-in-hand to stamp out the global tobacco epidemic."

He described the epidemic as one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing nearly six million people a year.

Mr Gan added that Singapore, as a signatory to the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, is keen to establish, engage and support local, regional and international partnerships for tobacco control.

The Health Promotion Board said that as hosts, Singapore has made a major milestone in the fight against smoking.

CEO Ang Hak Seng added that Singapore has one of the lowest rates of smoking in the world at about 14 per cent but aims to bring the percentage down to below 10 per cent by 2020.

This can be achieved by going beyond top-down legislation and mobilising the community to lead the way in "de-normalising" smoking.

It is the first time the conference is hosted in Southeast Asia, and about 2,600 international delegates and policy makers from 100 countries are taking part.

- CNA/ms

View the original article here

Source From Channel News Asia

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