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Representatives of 10 south and Southeast Asian countries, including India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka, sought a ban on smokeless forms of tobacco and called for introducing strong legislation for the purpose. Smokeless forms of tobacco, including use of areca nuts, pose serious public health problems in most countries of the region, the representatives said at the regional meeting of the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control here.
The meeting, organised by India's health ministry in collaboration with WHO SEAR (southeast Asian region), reviewed implementation of the WHO convention and major developments related to the treaty in the region and internationally. The meeting also facilitated inter-country exchanges on implementation achievements and challenges, including identification of the best practices and the ways of further promoting their dissemination and use.
It reviewed instruments available for implementation of the convention, particularly the guidelines and the reporting system. It also decided to raise awareness of the newly adopted protocol to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products and to promote its signature and ratification, an official said. The participants also included representatives from Bhutan, Myanmar, the Maldives, and Timor Leste.
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