There are currently no national smokefree laws, but there are local initiatives e.g most universities, all Lao Women Union district offices, and some hospitals are smokefree. The Ministry of Social and Security adopted a smoke free regulation on 19 September 2007 to ban all workplaces from smoking; the policy prohibits smoking in all indoor areas. Police and military offices in all level as well as schools, colleges, dormitories and hospitals must be 100% smoke free. Some outdoor areas ban smoking voluntarily.
Tobacco control legislation has been drafted including smokefree provisions in line with Article 8. The draft law has been passed to the Prime Minister Office and National Assembly.
The City of Luang Prabang (World Heritage Site) became smokefree in 2007. It was the first World Heritage site to ban smoking in public places. The ban covers indoor and outdoor areas of Buddhist temples and other tourist spots. It also covers workplaces, state offices, public transport and other public areas such as hotels, guesthouses and restaurants.
Champasak became the second official smokefree city in October 2008. The regulation bans smoking in public places such as temples, hotels, guesthouses, restaurant, public transportation and state offices. Wat Phou, another World Heritage Site, is smokefree according to the provincial governor of Champasak.
On 19 February 2009 the Vientiane Captial passed smokefree legislation which will be implemented in 2009, making it the third smokefree city in Laos.
Laos hosted the Smoke Free National Game VIII 2008, which were tobacco-free. Smoking was banned in indoor and outdoor stadiums, training court, athletes’ residence, hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, offices and public transpiration. The Games raised public awareness of smokefree regulations and the dangers of secondhand smoke.
Laos will host the first Smoke Free South East Asian Games in December 2009.
Smokefree resources available in 2009
SEATCA www.seatca.org Includes Asia Pacific Report Card: WHO FCTC Articles 6,8, 11 & 13 (October 2008).
Support grant seeds to strengthen smoke free policy in Laos:
Taiwanese International Medical Alliance (TIMA)
Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA)
Lao Tobacco Control www.laotobaccocontrol.org
Bloomberg Initiative grant (see www.tobaccocontrolgrants.org)
Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA)
The project aims to strengthen and mobilize Lao Network for tobacco control through provision of knowledge, expertise and resources.
Public education materials/implementation or enforcement materials
SEATCA – produced report ‘Protecting the right to life: Smokefree public places in ASEAN’ in Dec 2007
Needs related to implementing smokefree policies
Factors helping or hindering the implementation of Article 8
The drafting of smokefree legislation in line with Article 8.
Increase the public awareness and encourage compliance with smokefree laws.
Other countries that have influenced smokefree laws