WHO and Ministry of Public Health mark World No Tobacco Day 2016

School girls perform during the World No Tobacco Day, Pyongyang 2016

The Ministry of Public Health of DPR Korea and the World Health Organization marked the World No Tobacco Day on 31st May 2016 under this year's theme: Get ready for plain packaging.

Dr. Pak Jong Min, Director at the Ministry of Public Health, called for multisectoral collaboration and cooperation on tobacco control in DPR Korea. He emphasized that “strong multi-sectoral collaboration should be established involving relevant agencies and social organizations, including Ministry of Food and daily Necessities Industry, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Foreign Economy, and the Youth League to implement tobacco control activities in combination with other Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) control activities considering that tobacco use is a major risk factor for NCDs”.

Dr. Thushara, WHO Representative, noted that the DPR Korea Government is now strongly encouraging smokers to quit smoking and non-smokers to support smokers in this difficult task, inspiring all people to be healthier. He urged that “the collective and sustained efforts of relevant stakeholders are essential in making every day a no-tobacco day”. Dr. Thushara also highlighted that “now, more than ever, there is a need for all partners to engage at all levels and be an example of a unique and cohesive force against tobacco use” and that “WHO, along with all partners, shall continue to support and to advocate with policy-makers on tobacco control in accordance with the provisions of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control”.

Following the remarks from both MoPH and WHO Representatives, a 75-year-old man, member of the Korean Federation for Care of the Aged, shared his personal experience of the difficult journey to quit smoking.

The event, held at the People's Palace of Culture in Pyongyang, was attended by more than 250 participants from relevant ministries and institutions as well as representatives from diplomatic missions and international organizations.

To help spread the message a lighter note was struck with a comic performance by a famous merited actor and a children's musical performance.

Local TV news and newspapers covered the commemoration.