Published: Monday July 9, 2012 MYT 5:15:00 PM
Updated: Monday July 9, 2012 MYT 5:30:25 PM
Asean agrees to withdraw tobacco from Afta
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia and Asean member nations have agreed to withdraw tobacco from the Asean Free Trade Area (AFTA) list for implementation by 2015. Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said a consensus was reached at the 11th Asean Health Ministers Meeting at Phuket, Thailand last Thursday.
He said Asean Health Ministers discussed how to reduce consumption of tobacco as well as the ways to control the item from becoming widespread in the region.
“We agreed that tobacco needs to be withdrawn from the list of AFTA products as it could reduce the number of smokers and create a tobacco-free environment,” he said.
Liow was speaking to reporters after opening a Gastrointestinal & Nutrition Management: Continual Care' 2012 conference organised by the Malaysian Dietitians' Association (MDA) at Sunway Medical Centre, Monday.
Asean member countries comprise Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
Liow said the meeting among others also touched on efforts to improve cooperation among Asean countries in handling the outbreak of infectious diseases especially the influenza A virus infection (H1N1) apart from holding workshops and seminars for Asean countries to share experience on health issues.
On MDA, Liow said the association played an important role in helping to raise awareness on diet and ways to good health with a balanced diet.
“Dietitians and nutritionists could work together at community level to create awareness in the fight against non-communicable diseases (NCD).
“There has been a spike in NCD... as we know diabetes cases increased from 11 to 15.1 per cent in five years from 2006 to 2011 while cholestrol affects 20 to 35 per cent of the people during the same period,” he said.
“To date, there are 300 dietitians throughout the country and the Ministry of Health will increase the number to help prevent and treat unhealthy diet among the people,” he said. -Bernama