Celebration of World No Tobacco Day 2011 Hong Kong Council on Smoking or Health
Dr Shin Young-soo
World Health Organization Regional Director for the Western Pacific
Ms Lisa Lau, Dr THOMAS TSANG,Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen.
I am delighted to be a special guest at the celebration of World No Tobacco Day with the Hong Kong Council on Smoking or Health.
Since the Hong Kong Council on Smoking or Health was established in 1987, it has been at the forefront of tobacco control in Hong Kong and has served as an excellent example of how government and its different sectors, community health organizations, public bodies, education institutes and media can work together in creating a smoke-free environment.
The theme for this year's World No Tobacco Day is the "WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control".
This is the world's only public health treaty that seeks to prevent premature deaths by regulation of tobacco.
I am very proud to say that even before the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control came into force, Hong Kong was already implementing tobacco control measures consistent with the treaty.
Because of this, it is no surprise that Hong Kong has the lowest prevalence rates reported in Asia and the Pacific.
Hong Kong's smoking prevalence rate is 12% compared to neighbouring countries with rates of 25% to 30%.
Hong Kong's smoking prevalence rate is also lower than those of New York, Honolulu and Toronto.
This is an amazing accomplishment for Hong Kong, and a shining example for the rest of China as well as other countries and areas in the Region.
Today, I also presented to the Secretary for Food and Health, the Honourable Dr York Chow, the WHO Director-General's Special Recognition Award for World No Tobacco Day 2011.
Hong Kong has earned a special place in tobacco control in Asia and the Pacific.
The Hong Kong Council on Smoking or Health is Asia's pioneer in comprehensive tobacco control and is a model for other countries.
The Hong Kong Council on Smoking or Health has demonstrated leadership and persistence in achieving the highest standards for tobacco control.
We are all very proud of your success.
So, on World No Tobacco Day, I wish you all more success and courage in your continuing battle to increase prices and taxes and implement even stronger tobacco control measures for a healthier Hong Kong.
Thank you and congratulations.