Yangon Region Smoke-free campaign journey kicks off with Kyauktadar township

7 January 2019

Yangon Region Smoke-free campaign journey kicks off with Kyauktadar township.

The campaign took place at Maharbandoola Park in Yangon on Sunday.

Hundreds of people came to participate in the awareness raising activities and entertainment.

Every year, more than 65650 people in Myanmar are killed by tobacco-related disease.

Nevertheless, more than 21,000 children (10-14 years old) and 6,630,000 adults (15+ years old) continue to use tobacco each day.

Chairman of the People’s Health Foundation, Doctor Than Sein said, “We will be trying to make the whole Yangon tobacco-free in 5-year project term. And Yangon has a total of 33 townships. And we start off the campaign by setting Kyauktada township as a model township. 2006 tobacco and smoke reduction law, there are 500 places where smoking is banned. For example, hotels, hospitals, schools and restaurants and so on. So out of over 500 such places in the township, only 30% were effective.”

The global burden of smoking-related diseases is substantial, with over 7.1 million deaths annually. This burden is expected to increase for the coming decades in some countries, many of which already have limited health resources.

In 2016, tobacco use caused over 7.1 million deaths worldwide (5.1 million in men, 2.0 million in women). Most of these deaths (6.3 million) were attributable to cigarette smoking, followed by secondhand smoke (880,000 deaths).

In US, the expenditure for the cure of secondhand smoke diseases hit 5 billion US dollars every year.

Dr. Thein Swe, Vice Chairman of the foundation explained the actions that will be taken against the consumers and producers of the cigarette.

“Myanmar passed a law designed to reduce and eliminate the smoking since 1958. It says that smoking is banned in public places and buildings. But as everyone is aware, despite these no-smoking warnings in all sizes and shapes, few people abide by the law. So to enforce the law, the ministry of Health and Sports has been boosting its effort. Raising public awareness takes financial support.

And according to 6 strategies of WHO, it’s also suggestable to the government to impose tax on the tobacco use to cut down the consumption as well as to improve public health. So the government needs to take on that.”

Studies show that the economic cost of smoking in Myanmar amounts to 2657084 million kyat. This includes direct costs related to healthcare expenditures and indirect costs related to lost productivity due to early mortality and morbidity.

According to the law, the direct advertising and promotion of the tobacco is banned in Myanmar.

Arker Kyaw