Turkmenistan hosts workshop for reporters on tobacco-related issues


In Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, key print and television journalists at the regional and national levels, and communication representatives of regional health centres participated in a 1-day workshop in December 2015 aimed at building their capacity to report on tobacco-related issues. Participants received an introduction to Turkmenistan's tobacco landscape in an international context and the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), together with an overview of available data resources at WHO relevant to reporting on tobacco and health.

The information was brought into the context of storytelling about tobacco issues, and how to make policy relevant to the general public through country examples. Key issues included:

  • the challenges faced by the Russian Federation in implementing health warnings on tobacco packages
  • how Ukraine has dealt with implementing smoke-free public places and the related health gains
  • a close look at the results of tobacco tax increases in central Asian countries.

Country cases were used as inspiration for how media in Turkmenistan can report on tobacco issues, and were supported by fact sheets and data from the WHO European Region and Turkmenistan.

Turkmenistan has resolved to become tobacco free by 2025 (where less than 5% of the population smokes) and has already made progress in implementing the WHO FCTC, as it

  • ratified the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products as 1of 12 countries globally
  • adopted a law banning smoking in public places
  • included large warnings on tobacco packs
  • banned tobacco sponsorship and promotion
  • regulated the sale of tobacco products.