Welcome to the 2014 International Conference on Tobacco Control: Current Status and Future Prospect.
Tobacco brings heavy damage to health, Taiwan government has made a wish during the start of the 2nd centennial. It is hoped that in ten years, smoking rate in Taiwan will be reduced by 50%. We adopt the MPOWER Strategy recommended by WHO FCTC. We conduct smoking behavior survey and tobacco sales monitor, and also enforce the amended “Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act” in 2009. Increased tobacco surcharge, imposed graphic warning on package. We also designated smoking areas in public fields. In order to help smokers quit smoking, we provided smoking cessation services, such as smoking cessation helpline offered at school, military barracks, and workplaces. In addition, we launched “Second-generation Cessation Payment Scheme” in 2012 to increase accessibility, affordability of various smoking cessation services. All villages, towns, cities and districts island-wide will be able to access such service.
Through the above strategies and under the joint effort by city and county governments, ministries and other government agencies, the adult smoking rate has decreased from 21.9% in 2008 to 18% in 2013 in Taiwan. Over a period of 5 years, the smoking population declined by 540,000 people. The second-hand smoke exposure rate in public places slide from 23.7% in 2008 to 9.2% in 2013. We aspire to meet the ultimate goal proposed by Tobacco Endgame to build Taiwan into a smoke-free society.
Taiwan joined ENSH-Global Network for Tobacco Free Healthcare Services in 2011 and set up the first smoke-free hospital network in Asia-Pacific area. So far, there are 179 hospital members in Taiwan. Hospitals not only prohibited tobacco use but also help their patients, employees, and communities to promote smoking cessation and to prevent tobacco hazards. At present, 11 hospitals from Taiwan have received Gold Award from the ENSH-Global Network. It should be noted that around the world only 27 hospitals received Gold Award of the ENSH-Global Network. Taiwan receives the highest number of awards. Today, we will also avail the opportunity to present Awards to Best Smoke-free Hospitals. Congratulations to them all.
This year, we work with Taiwan Medical Alliance for the Control of Tobacco, Taiwan College of Healthcare Executives and Asian Center for WTO & International Health Law and Policy to organize the Conference. Together, we invited experts and speakers from home and abroad to share with us new knowledge and effective policies in tobacco hazards prevention and control. What’s more, we will be able to see the prevention results and future prospects. In the Conference, the monitoring and execution of the FCTC and that of FCA under the FCTC will be presented. The challenges faced by individual governments in tobacco surcharge and electronic cigarettes policies will also be addressed. The effects of tobacco hazards prevention and control and international trade also deserve our attention. The 2014 Conference will also cover issues such as Scorecard evaluation on national tobacco policies, tobacco smuggling and illicit trade, and the development of tobacco-free hospitals. Pertinent experiences will be shared and practical opinions will be voiced.
Last but not least, thank you for working in tobacco hazards prevention and control. Your participation will prove to be meaningful and rewarding. Let me wish you every success, happiness and good health.