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Tobacco control in Timor-Leste: weak

May 2, 2013


The current state of tobacco control in Timor Leste. (“Available now, a new cigarette. The flavour you love.” Pantai Kelapa, Dili.)

MP Josefa Alvares Soares said, as Timor-Leste is a new country with a small population, when the government does not pay attention to this problem it can be a big threat to human resources because now Timor-Leste has a high instance of tuberculosis and cancer also.

… World Health Organization Representative in Timor-Leste Dr Jorge Mario Luna said he was surprised and sad when he saw the advertisement for a new cigarette called 23 in a public place.

“I am sad because Timor-Leste has signed the international convention on controlling tobacco but continues putting the advertisement of cigarettes in public places,” said Dr Luna.

From the Dili Weekly.

Though Timor-Leste does not have the population to rank among the top consuming nations, it has (along with its neighbour Indonesia) among the highest consumption in the world as a proportion of population. The Government is currently ambivalent about tobacco control, as the full extent of tobacco-related-harm has not been realised, and future harms have been insufficiently communicated. Soares comments are informed and articulate ones; tobacco smokers are up to 20 times more likely to develop active tuberculosis – a fact which is not well known.

As it is in the rest of the developing world, tsunami of devastation is creeping up on this small island.

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