Singapore, 22 March 2012

ASEAN Secretary-General, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, spoke to over 2,500 international delegates and policy-makers from more than 100 countries earlier this week during the 15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health. The Conference was officially opened in Singapore by Health Minister H.E. Gan Kim Yong in the presence of some of the world’s most influential leaders.

“The tobacco scourge is a man-made burden that has tremendous economic costs. Through the ASEAN Focal Points on Tobacco Control, we aim to put forward initiatives toward a smoke-free ASEAN and garner greater cooperation among ASEAN member countries and partners to curb tobacco use at, for example, the workplace and other public areas,” said Dr. Surin.

A smoke-free environment is ASEAN’s major concern and goal. Dr Surin called on ASEAN Member States government to work together with the international community and civil society within Southeast Asia towards the vision of a Smoke-Free ASEAN. “Let us hope to extend the clean air onto every capital of ASEAN cities, and onto every street—to all 600 million people of ASEAN—by end of 2012”. He also announced that, as a start, the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta will be smoke-free from next month.

To watch the Opening Ceremony, please click here.