Volunteers to promote smoke-free 25th SEA Games

Posted by samakomlao Tuesday, November 17, 2009

During the upcoming SEA Games 140 volunteers will ensure people are aware of smoking-free zones and promote the ‘Smoke-Free SEA Games' campaign in Vientiane.

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency's Tobacco Control Programme Coordinator, Dr Maniphanh Vongphosy, said yesterday the National Sports Committee had granted permission for a booth to be set up outside the National Stadium to promote the campaign.

“During the games we'll have 120 volunteers walking around all the sport venues ensuring that smokers only smoke in the allocated areas and providing information on the dangers of smoking cigarettes. We'll also have 20 other volunteers providing free face painting of national flags and the smoke-free logo to interested people,” she said.

“We'll also organise quizzes at our booth, where people can win T-shirts and other items to show support for their team.”

Dr Maniphanh said the committee is currently considering a proposal by the programme to install signs bearing the smoke-free logo along roadsides throughout Vientiane .

The Comprehensive Tobacco Control Law is also currently being debated at the National Assembly's 8th ordinary session.

The enforcement of smoke-free zones during the SEA Games is in accordance with the World Health Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which was ratified by Laos in 2006.

The Philippines , Vietnam and Thailand all enforced smoke-free zones when they hosted past SEA Games.

On May 31, 2007, Luang Prabang province issued the first smoke-free regulations in Laos to mark World No Tobacco Day. The eighth National Games held in Champassak province last year was also a smoke-free event.

The Tobacco Control Taskforce of Laos is cooperating with the World Health Organisation, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance and the Lao National Sports Committee to reduce the use of tobacco products in Laos .

Every year some five million people in the world die from the effects of tobacco. About 14,000 people die each day, 600 each hour, 10 each minute, and one every three seconds.

In the next 20 years some 10 million people will die from the effects of tobacco use.

By Panyasith Thammavongsa

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