Multisectorial efforts needed to address tobacco control in the Republic of Moldova
5 June 2015
In the Republic of Moldova, 25% of the population and 50% of men smoke, and 90 000 of today's youth population will take up smoking in the absence of strong tobacco control measures, highlighted Mrs Svetlana Cotelea, the Deputy Minister of Health, during a press conference held on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day 2015.
Referring to the new tobacco control law recently passed by the Moldovan Parliament in May 2015, the Deputy Minister added, "The implementation of all provisions of the law will contribute to improved living standards and increased regulation in the manufacture, distribution, marketing and consumption of tobacco products."
The new law closely follows implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and comprises a full ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces and the use of warning labels covering 65% of the front and back of cigarette packages. It also includes a full ban on the advertising and promotion of tobacco products, with the exception of philanthropy, which was replaced by regulations that prohibit advertisements using the trademark designation of tobacco products, the name of the tobacco industry entity and other strategies.
Dr Jarno Habicht, WHO Representative, congratulated the Ministry of Health, decision-makers, parliamentarians, civil society and citizens on the adoption of a series of amendments to different laws directed to strengthen tobacco control. He also noted the importance of World No Tobacco Day 2015 that encourages all countries to join global efforts to stop the illicit trade with tobacco. "The examples of other countries, such as Spain, show that combating illicit trade is a good investment for the health of the population and the economy."
In the same context, Mr Oleg Babin, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, mentioned at the press conference that in 2014, 60 contravention protocols on cigarette sales to minors were initiated and illicit tobacco products worth approximately 7 million Moldovan lei were confiscated. He said, "In parallel, realizing the scale of the issue, the police are conducting regular meetings in schools and with local public authorities on the harmful effects of tobacco. Young people are most affected by the tobacco industry, as well as the poor and other vulnerable groups. Therefore, complex measures are required to reduce smoking and decrease illicit trade." He concluded that more work needs to be done with economic agents, as well as to raise awareness of the population in parallel with enforcement efforts.
The press conference was concluded by the Custom Services of the Republic of Moldova, addressing issues of cross-border trade, especially with the European Union, investments in infrastructure and practices.
In addition, medical students organized a flash mob, where young people lined up as a giant cigarette to demonstrate the harmful effects of tobacco on active and passive smokers. Social events with children and parents were organized in the Dendrarium Park in Chisinau, as part of the "Smoke-free Moldova" project. Global materials on World No Tobacco Day 2015 were translated into the local language and distributed at public events held by the Ministry of Health and the National Center for Public Health.
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