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THAIHEALTH PRAISED BY WHO FCTC CHIEF FOR ITS EFFECTIVE…

Thai Health Promotion Foundation (ThaiHealth) headquarters participated in a regional meeting with the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC) representatives. Taking place on June 14th, 2023, at the Health Promotion Learning Centre, this meeting was part of the ‘Needs Assessment for Implementing the WHO FCTC in Thailand’ led by Dr Adriana Blanco Marquizo, Head of the Secretariat of the WHO FCTC.

Commended by Dr Marquizo, ThaiHealth is one of Thailand’s and the world’s most important organisations which serves as a vital mechanism to initiate, reinforce, and support the tobacco control efforts for over two decades as seen in its collaboration with various sectors. The visit of WHO-FCTC delegation to Thailand aimed at reviewing the Thai legislation, strategies, policies, and measures concerning tobacco control, and conducting a needs assessment in both academic and financial aspects. The purpose of the visit was to provide recommendations for Thailand’s further development in aligning with the WHO FCTC framework to strengthen and enhance tobacco control efforts in the country.

In response, ThaiHealth CEO, Dr Supreda Adulyanon, mentioned that since its establishment, ThaiHealth has strongly and consistently collaborated with various sectors, resulting in successful reduction of tobacco consumption from 25.5% in 2001 to only 17.4% in 2021. Thailand is the country where cigarette tax is imposed the most vigorously compared to retail prices in other ASEAN countries.

Additionally, the size of pictorial warnings on cigarette packs is as large as 85% of the area of the package, and the import and sales of e-cigarettes are prohibited. Moreover, the minimum age to access tobacco products is set at 20 years. Thailand is the first country in Asia and among middle-income countries to enforce plain packaging for cigarettes. Therefore, this regional meeting holds significance in exchanging knowledge, lessons learnt, and successful experiences in ThaiHealth’s tobacco control efforts with its network of partners. It also offers recommendations for future work and opportunities to achieve the objectives of the WHO FCTC in tobacco control.

Meanwhile, Founder and Consultant of Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA), Ms Bungon Ritthiphakdee, also added that SEATCA has collaborated with ThaiHealth to establish an online Resource Hub on Sustainable Financial Mechanism for Health Promotion, available at http://HPFHub.info. It collects and analyses knowledge on policies, laws, and lessons from the WHO FCTC and similar organisations in various countries, providing academic assistance to interested countries. Furthermore, the two partners have jointly developed the ‘Fellowship: Innovative Financing for Health Promotion’ project, aiming at strengthening the capacities of 10 developing countries worldwide in promoting sustainable laws establishing financial mechanisms for health promotion, with ThaiHealth standing as a prominent model.

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