Regional Director presents World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) award to Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova

WHO

The Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova, Mr Iurie Leancă, today received the award from the WHO Regional Director for Europe, Ms Zsuzsanna Jakab. Mr Leancă has taken part in developing and proposing a strong anti-tobacco law.

WHO gives WNTD awards every year to carefully selected individuals and/or organizations to recognize their long-term commitment and outstanding contributions to research, advocacy, health promotion, capacity building and other activities that promote and enforce tobacco control.

New law to further goals of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)

The proposed law is extensive in its provisions, advancing the policies and measures promoted by the FCTC and its guidelines, and going much further than the recently adopted European Union (EU) tobacco products directive. Although the law has still to pass through Parliament, it represents a great step towards smoke-free public areas, a ban on tobacco advertising and radical changes to the labelling and marketing of tobacco products.

Strong measures needed

The failure of the law to pass would carry a clear and costly risk to society. Smoking causes over 5600 deaths in the Republic of Moldova every year, as well as the loss of 2000 workers from the national workforce. There are 690 000 adult smokers at present and it is estimated that over 90 000 of today’s young people will take up smoking in the absence of strong tobacco-control measures.

The Prime Minister sent a clear signal of his intent to push forward a strong law by mobilizing ministers, holding consultations with civil-society organizations and the mass media, and appearing in a 3-minute video supporting an anti-smoking campaign.

“Prime Minister Leancă’s personal conviction and engagement were distinctive in putting people’s health and society’s future above all else. While economic arguments often prevail, in this particular situation, the country’s most valuable resource – its people – was put at the forefront,” said Ms Jakab.