VIENTIANE, May 26 (Xinhua) -- The smoking rate reached 27.9 percent in Laos or over 800,000 people of aged 15 and above, making Laos second runner-up among countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), according to Lao Ministry of Health on Friday.
The dead rate by smoking covered 4,387 people per year or about 13 people per day, Lao Minister of Health Bounkong Syhavong said at a meeting on achievements in implementation of World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control held in Lao capital Vientiane.
Over the past 11 years, Lao government has not well implemented and enforced the law on tobacco control, especially smoking-free area, collection of tobacco tax, accumulation of money for the Tobacco Control Fund, and other measures on tobacco control despite Laos being a membership of International Convention on Tobacco Control and proclamation of law on tobacco control for the last eight years, Bounkong said.
"Tobacco use was rising fast in many countries where control measures are relatively new. But it is not just health that tobacco damages. Tobacco use is a major barrier to sustainable development on several fronts including food security, gender equity, education, economic growth and the environment," said Acting WHO Representative, Luo Dapeng.
"We need to remain true to the evidence that tobacco kills and be bold in implementing measures that protect our young people. We need to adopt measures that will reduce the demand for tobacco products and promote a healthier, more sustainable world," said Luo.
During the meeting, the WHO praised Lao government's implementation of graphic health warnings on tobacco packaging and introduction of tobacco taxes as effective measures in reducing the demand for tobacco products.
On the occasion of World No Tobacco Day, which is marked annually on May 31, the WHO official urged Lao government and its partners to work together to fight against the emerging epidemic and reduce the disease burden of non-communicable diseases resulting from tobacco use, reported Lao state-run news agency KPL.