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WHO calls on businesses to create smoke-free workplaces


Manila, The World Health Organisation is inviting businesses across the Western Pacific Region to join a new campaign, 'Revolution Smoke-Free', and establish smoke-free workplaces in which everyone is free from tobacco smoke in their workplaces and beyond. 'A smoke-free workplace is not a privilege, it’s a global standard,' says Dr Shin Young-soo, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific. This campaign highlights the importance of protecting employee health and the bottom line through a commitment to creating a smoke-free environment in the workplace. Tobacco kills seven million people around the world each year, including 890 000 non-smokers who are exposed to tobacco smoke, a WHO Western Pacific Region report on Tuesday said. In the Western Pacific Region, three people die every minute due to tobacco. This is entirely preventable with strong smoke-free laws in place. Unfortunately, only nine out of 27 Member States in the WHO Western Pacific Region have adopted comprehensive smoke-free laws covering all public places and workplaces, leaving hundreds of millions of people vulnerable to second-hand smoke. WHO has traditionally targeted governments to adopt and enforce smoke-free laws, but even with the best understanding and intentions, strong opposition hinders the passage of effective laws. 'There is no need to wait for national legislation to make workplaces smoke-free. Businesses can lead the charge in changing our workplaces, protecting workers and clients, and promoting smoke-free environments as the global standard to which every responsible and successful company must strive,' says Dr Shin. Smoking in the workplace raises operational costs and reduces productivity by adversely affecting the health of workers. Making workplaces completely smoke-free is an effective way to protect the health of employees and improve the bottom line. That is why, in some countries, the private sector is already taking the initiative to implement smoke-free workplace policies as companies recognize the positive impact of a smoke-free environment on employees and their business. 'Companies are constantly looking for ways to boost their bottom line. Going smoke-free is the easiest way to propel productivity in any business,' says Dr Shin. The campaign calls on businesses throughout the Region to pledge their commitment to smoke-free workplaces through the campaign website ( They can establish smoke-free workplaces and offer support to employees who wish to quit. Participating businesses can share experiences in going smoke-free and invite other businesses to also commit to smoke-free workplaces. Workers can learn about how to make workplaces smoke-free at the campaign website, and they can request their management to implement a smoke-free workplace policy. This campaign builds on many other similar initiatives that have taken place in countries around the Region which have seen many companies already declaring their workplaces smoke-free. In advance of a China campaign launch event in Beijing on Monday, a number of companies have pledged their commitment to creating smoke-free workplaces including: Apsara Palace Resort & Conference Center from Cambodia; Baidu, Inc., International Ltd, Ucommune (Beijing) Venture Investment Co., Ltd, Zhaopin Ltd, Beijing MTR Corporation Limited and Changan Automobile Co., Ltd from China; Yahoo Japan Corporation and Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Himawari Life Insurance, Inc. from Japan; and Thermal Power Plant #4 from Mongolia. They have officially joined the Revolution Smoke-Free campaign and are inviting other businesses to promote smoke-free workplaces across the Region.

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