Lao smokers aged above 15 across the country in 2015 shared 57.9 percent of the combined population.
The report was made by the Coordinator of ASEAN Tobacco Control Alliance, Dr Manyphan Vongphosy, at a media seminar on tobacco control held at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism in Vientiane Capital on May 9.
The report has shown that 50.8 percent of smokers are male, while 7.1 percent are female. When compared to the last three years, the smoking rate among males increased by 7.8 percent, but in females, it decreased by 1.3 percent.
“Electric cigarette smokers are mostly young Lao people who account for 8.7 percent of the population,” Dr Manyphan said, adding, “we are concerned over the significant growth in the number of young smokers. As a consequence, the government will have to spend a part of the budget for the treatment for patients who suffer from chronic conditions caused by smoking”.
The Ministry of Health has issued an instruction that all brands of cigarette products, either domestic or imported for commercial purposes in Laos, must be affixed with health warnings and photos that will cover 75 percent of their packaging. The instruction came into enforcement on May 1 this year.
The ministry said that the enforcement of health warning labeling complies with its decision to implement the Law on Tobacco Control No 1067 which was made on May 23, 2016.
This year, the celebration of the World No Tobacco Day will be held on May 31 under the theme “Tobacco: a Threat to Development.” It will propose measures that governments and the public should take to promote health and development by confronting the global tobacco crisis.
The number of smokers in the world has reached over 1.1 billion people, of whom 945 million are men and 180 million are female. This number is expected to increase to 2 billion people by 2030, while smoking-related deaths are expected to increase to 10 million people per year by 2030.