WHO supports World Heritage Sites to go

Manila, Philippines, 31 July 2012— The World Health Organization (WHO) supports the development of smoke-free World Heritage Sites in the Western Pacific Region to promote healthy and smoke-free historic sites.

To date, five historical sites in the Western Pacific Region are smoke-free and listed in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites. Angkor Wat, in Cambodia, Luang Prabang and Wat Phu, Champasak in the Lao People's Democratic Republic, and Ha Long Bay and Hoi An in Viet Nam received funding from WHO to help ensure a 100%
smoke-free environment.

Aside from promoting a healthy and smoke-free environment, the World Heritage Sites also provides protection from potential damages to sites resulting from smoking-related fires. It covers a variety of activities, such as posting "No Smoking" signs, smoking bans in enclosed places and public areas, tour guide training on increasing awareness and enforcement, and anti-tobacco mass media campaigns, among others.

A Regional Workshop on Smoke-free World Heritage Sites and Cities, held in
July 2011, provided orientation for directors and site managers to make their World Heritage sites and cities smoke-free. The workshop was organized by the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance in partnership with the WHO Tobacco Free Initiative.

Angkor Sites, Cambodia
Angkor World Heritage Site is an Angkor compound, recognized as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1992, is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Cambodia. The smoke-free Angkor sites project included the establishment of the Smoke-free Angkor Working Group. It also included preparation and creation of a smoke-free circular on smoking ban at workplaces and within the compound of Angkor sites, posting of "No Smoking" signs in workplaces, public places and within the compound of Angkor temples, and training on the enforcement of the smoke-free circular for 1055 tour guides and installation of smoke-free Angkor sites billboards at the six entrances to Angkor sites.

Town of Luang Prabang, Lao People's Democratic Republic
Luang Prabang has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site since December 1995. The provincial governor issued the smoke-free Luang Prabang world heritage regulations and launched it on May 2007. The current smoke-free project includes strengthening the smoke-free regulation in accordance with the new Tobacco Control law and posting of "No Smoking" stickers and banners in strategic areas of the town.

Wat Phu, Champasak, Lao People's Democratic Republic
Wat Phu, Champasak was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site on 16 December 2011. On 5 August 2008, the provincial governor issued the
smoke-free Champasak Regulation. The current smoke-free project includes appointing the director of the World Heritage Site Division to be the focal point on tobacco control for Wat Phu, Champasak, World Heritage Areas, organizing the meeting for the Champasak District Tobacco Control Task Force, posting "No Smoking" signs in strategic areas of the city and strengthening the smoke-free regulation in accordance with the new tobacco control law.

Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam
Ha Long Bay was recognized on December 1994 as a World Natural Heritage site for its natural beauty. This smoke-free project includes the posting of "No Smoking" signs in 20 commune centres and hospitals in Ha Long City, the main tourist hub for visitors to Ha Long Bay, as well as an anti-smoking media campaign on television, radio and newspapers. Monitoring of government offices, health-care facilities and schools have been strengthened and resulted in good compliance. Through this project, commitment and support for smoke-free settings in Ha Long Bay have been greatly enhanced.

Hoi An Ancient Town, Viet Nam
Hoi An is one of most famous tourism cities in Viet Nam and designated as a World Heritage Site since 1999. The smoke-free project includes training for city departments, hotels, restaurants, business owners, media and police, posting of "No Smoking" signs, and preparation and distribution of smoke-free Hoi An leaflets. Commitment and support of Hoi An localities have been enhanced through this project.

For more information, please contact:

Dr Susan Mercado
Team Leader, Tobacco Free Initiative
Mobile: +63 (0)928 501 0241
E-mail: mercados@wpro.who.int

Mr James Rarick
Technical Officer, Tobacco Free Initiative
Mobile: +63 (0)9494230508
E-mail: rarickj@wpro.who.int

Mr Timothy O'Leary
Public Information Officer
Mobile: +63 (0)908 886 8738
E-mail: olearyt@wpro.who.int