Tobacco Info

From Tobacco Info No. 9 - April 2012
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Singapore hosts the 15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health


By Geoffrey Lansdell


In many ways, Singapore is a beacon of health. It is prosperous, has universal education and health care, an extremely low crime rate, and its progressive anti-smoking policies have produced one of the world’s lowest smoking rates at 14.3 per cent. Fittingly, Singapore will be the site of the 15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH), a triennial tobacco control symposium that will take place from March 20 to 24, 2012. The theme for the conference is “Towards a Tobacco-Free World: Planning Globally, Acting Locally”.


Singapore has been a world leader in tobacco control since 1970, when it became one of the first countries to legislate smoke-free public spaces. In 1971, Singapore became the first country to ban tobacco advertisements. Then, in 1986, the federal government launched the National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP), a long-term national strategy to end smoking throughout the country. Its theme is “Towards a Nation of Non-Smokers” and it is currently considering a unique end-game plan to kill smoking by denying access to tobacco for those born in or after the year 2000. Although the proposal has yet to come into law, it has received 70.4 per cent support among Singaporeans and over 14,000 likes on Facebook.


The WCTOH will take place at the Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Singapore’s Central Business District. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Margaret Chan, the current director general of the World Health Organization. Among the conference’s highlights will be the presentation of the Luther L. Terry Awards, where Canadians Stan Shatenstein and Prabhat Jha will receive Terry medals for their outstanding contributions in the field of tobacco control.


Tobacco Info will be in Singapore to cover the conference.