Health Networks oppose International Tobacco Expo

International Tobacco Expo

Health Networks prepare a petition against the upcoming international tobacco expo in November with the view of presenting it to the Prime Minister.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Jiraporn Limpananon, from the Faculty of Pharmacy, Chulalongkorn University said Thailand Pharmacy Student Federation and several health networks have jointly declared their intention to oppose the largest international tobacco industry expo which would be organized during 11 – 13 November 2009 through a petition to the Government. They expected to obtain more than 30,000 – 40,000 signatures through all allied pharmacies and drugstores in the networks.

Dr. Jiraporn said that the health networks shared their views on the inappropriateness of this event. To pick Thailand, which is globally recognized as one of the countries with the strongest tobacco regulations, as the host of the event is clearly defiant, as implied in the event’s slogan “If you win Thailand, you win the world.” The public could raise doubts on the country’s image as Thailand would be hosting an ASEAN Summit for tobacco control policy in 2010.

Dr. Jiraporn believed that most Thai people would also disagree on the organization of the event and may be curious about the government’s points of view of such destructive business. Although the Prime Minister may not know about the event, the health networks would present a petition to him on 3 November, in the hope to bring realization to the society on the ongoing activity run by the international tobacco businesses.

The network of pharmacy faculty from 15 universities earlier this month had sent an open letter to the Prime Minister, claiming that the government has violated WHO’s declaration on tobacco control which stated that the government must not be involved in any tobacco business activity. Yet it was reported that Thailand Tobacco Monopoly which is a government agency has already agreed to exhibit in the event.