The Blue Ribbon Campaign

Mobilizing support for 100% smoke-free indoor environments in the Western Pacific

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the world today. In the Western Pacific Region, it is estimated that at least two people die each minute from a
tobacco-related disease. Apart from the harm smoking causes to smokers, exposure to second-hand smoke is a major public health hazard. In 2010, it was estimated that globally more than 600,000 people die each year from exposure to second-hand smoke; 28% of these deaths were among children. In Asia and the Pacific, more than half of women and children are regularly exposed to cigarette smoke in public places and at home.

There is overwhelming evidence to show the harms and dangers of exposure to
second-hand smoke. The International Agency for Cancer Research has classified second-hand smoke as a carcinogen. Research shows that there is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke. Upon inhalation, chemicals in tobacco smoke cause immediate harm, and even the smallest amount of tobacco smoke can also damage DNA, which can lead to cancer. Studies have also shown that even brief exposure to second-hand smoke can cause cardiovascular disease and could trigger a heart attack. Exposure to second-hand smoke increases the risks for cardiovascular disease and cancer in the general population.

The objectives of the campaign are:

1. To raise awareness on the harms of second-hand smoke

2. To empower and recognize individuals, groups, institutions, civil society partners, local governments and other stakeholders to continue to denormalize smoking in public and advocate for smoke-free environments

3. To build political constituencies that can lobby for stronger smoke-free laws and regulations consistent with Article 8 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and its guidelines

The Blue Ribbon Campaign materials