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Agenda for global dialogue on tobacco control framed with a focus on actionable local strategies

Singapore, 31 May 2011: As the world observes World No Tobacco Day, the agenda for the 15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) takes shape for a global dialogue on tobacco control, with a focus on actionable strategies at the local level. WCTOH, to be held from 20 - 24 March 2012, will be hosted by Singapore for the first time. The Health Promotion Board, Singapore (HPB)1 has chosen to organise both the pre-conference and conference, and lead the dialogue on tobacco control, for some 3,000 international delegates from around the world. The conference theme - Towards a Tobacco-Free World: Planning Globally, Acting Locally - underscores the emphasis placed on WCTOH being a platform not only for global strategies, but also for plans that acknowledge regional and local realities in the fight against tobacco.

An Agenda for Action

2. The agenda for both the pre-conference and conference are being built towards understanding the global challenges to tobacco control and to developing plans for tackling the problem at a regional and country level. Already on the schedule, a discussion which focuses on the supply side A Tobacco-Free World: Reality or Dream? Strategies to Challenge the Tobacco Industry. The conference will also review the findings of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, and develop a roadmap towards a tobacco free world through the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, developed by the World Health Organization (WHO FCTC).

3. President of the 15th WCTOH, Associate Professor Philip Eng, commenting on the aims of the conference said, "Tobacco use is a serious issue for any society, with direct implications on health and ripples to socio-economic effects as well. In today's globalised and connected environment, effective tobacco control, too, requires global planning and local action. We hope this conference will provide a good networking platform for all of us to build on one another's expertise, experiences and knowledge".

Giving Youth Control

4. The programme for the pre-conference also includes a focus on the specific issues related to youth and tobacco control. To be held over two days leading up to the main conference, the pre-conference programme puts youth in focus with a track titled Towards a Tobacco-Free World: YOUTH Can Make A Difference. The youth pre-conference targets tobacco control advocates between 18-30 years of age to come together and share their experience.

5. Insights from the youth pre-conference sessions will be reviewed during the main conference session focused on Acting Locally . This signals the importance of the youths as an important demographic in tobacco control and advocacy.

Planning for Success

6. HPB is working closely with local, regional and international non-government organisations to facilitate inclusive collaborations in the global fight against tobacco. Additionally, 300 scholarships for the 15th WCTOH will be made available, with the aim of setting the foundation for building ground-up capacity and advocacy for tobacco control.

7. Singapore is honoured to contribute to the discussion and sharing of best practices for combating tobacco use. HPB seeks to bring its experience in tobacco control towards driving an impactful meeting. Singapore has employed a holistic approach to tobacco control, looking across the people, public and private sectors, as well as key partnerships, to tackle the issue. This inclusive approach has inspired the theme and agenda of the upcoming 15th WCTOH the use of a global perspective to inform an action plan for local success. "We must come away with real strategies for real results in the fight against tobacco", said Ang Hak Seng, HPB's Chief Executive Officer.

1The Health Promotion Board, Singapore is the national driver for tobacco control programmes and strategies, and has consistently kept Singapore s smoking prevalence at one of the lowest, if not the lowest, within the region by adopting a holistic approach towards tobacco control.

Issued by Health Promotion Board

About Health Promotion Board, Singapore
The Health Promotion Board (HPB), Singapore was established as a statutory board under the Ministry of Health, Singapore, in 2001 with the vision of building A Nation of Healthy People. HPB aims to empower the people of Singapore to attain optimal health, increase the quality and years of healthy life and prevent illness, disability and premature death.

As the key driver of national health promotion and disease prevention programmes, HPB spearheads health education, promotion and prevention programmes as well as creates a health-supportive environment in Singapore. It develops and organises relevant health promotion and disease prevention programmes, reaching out to the healthy, the at-risk and the unhealthy at all stages of life children, youths, adults and older Singapore residents.

Its health promotion programmes include nutrition, mental health, physical activity, smoking control and communicable disease education. HPB also promotes healthy ageing, integrated health screening, and chronic disease education and management.