WHO mission on tobacco control action plan for Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in May 2011. On 7–10 June, a WHO/Europe expert mission visited the country to support the Government in developing a national tobacco-control action plan in accordance with the requirements of WHO FCTC and its guidelines.

During the mission, a national action plan was drafted, based on the achievements in tobacco control in Turkmenistan and recognizing the need to overcome some weaknesses. The draft includes recommendations for changes to laws and regulations, as well as measures to raise overall awareness, establish cessation services and carry out other effective activities.

During the mission, WHO and the Ministry of Health conducted a workshop on tobacco control for representatives of stakeholders such as the ministries of Health, Finance, Trade, Interior, Education, Culture and Foreign Affairs; the State Tax, Customs and Standards services; various medical organizations; the Youth Union; and the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan.
While the WHO FCTC enters into force in Turkmenistan on 11 August 2011, the country has already made important achievements in tobacco control policies:

  • a ban on tobacco advertising (1998);
  • a ban on smoking in ministries, enterprises and organizations (regardless of ownership), military units, education facilities, theatres, all kinds of public transport, parks and other places where large groups gather (2000);
  • a ban on the use, production, sale, transportation and keeping of nas (a local variety of oral tobacco) (2008);
  • rules banning the sale of tobacco products in education, health, culture and sport organizations and to people younger than 18 years (2011);
  • requirements that tobacco packages carry health warnings (2010).

There is no tobacco production in Turkmenistan; cigarette prices are rather high and currently exceed prices in all other newly independent states. Monitoring of tobacco control is not well developed in Turkmenistan.