Tobacco control at the Global Health Conference

The Ministry of Health and Welfare of the Republic of Korea and the Korea Health Promotion Foundation organized the Global Health Conference from 29 to 31 October 2013 in Seoul. With the theme of preventable noncommunicable disease (NCD) risk factors, the Conference was composed of six sessions covering issues around alcohol, oral health, physical activities, nutrition and tobacco control.

One of the sessions highlighted during the three-day Conference, entitled Global Tobacco Control and its Sustainable Development, opened with remarks by Professor Chang-jin Moon, President of the Bureau of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO FCTC. During his speech, Professor Moon stressed the importance of controlling tobacco use in order to prevent NCDs and to promote public health, and the need for strong international cooperation on tobacco control.

The session explored tobacco-control issues in three parts: the global burden of tobacco use; global health promotion and tobacco control in 21st century; and ten years after the adoption of the WHO FCTC. The invited speakers – national, regional and global experts in tobacco control – made presentations, following which a panel discussion was held.

Dr Haik Nikogosian, Head of the Convention Secretariat, was also invited to the Conference as a speaker and made a presentation on the history of the WHO FCTC and major progress and achievements since its adoption in 2003. He recalled the importance of the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, adopted at the fifth session of the COP in Seoul in 2012, for further implementation of the Convention.

As a side event to the Conference, a special table-talk with global experts in tobacco control was organized by a major national press agency. The event was held in order to raise awareness of tobacco control and the WHO FCTC in the Republic of Korea. During the, experts discussed Korea’s national tobacco control policies and suggested ways for the country to play a leading role in promoting tobacco control and public health at regional and global level.