The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) will reinforce its tobacco-free initiative to create a healthy Seoul in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), Bloomberg Philanthropies and Vital Strategies through tobacco advertising and marketing regulations.
Early this year, the SMG joined Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Partnership for Healthy Cities, a project in which more than 50 cities, including New York, London and Paris, have joined, and will implement tobacco regulations in full swing. In-store tobacco advertising will be regulated to prevent adolescents and non-smokers from being exposed and encouraged to smoke.
The SMG will conduct regional investigations into the current state of tobacco advertisements in retail stores, and start a campaign to publicize the regulations. In addition, the SMG will conduct citizen perception surveys related to the necessity of tobacco regulations and improvements to tobacco exposure. The SMG will also monitor the current state of non-smoking in no smoking areas of public spaces. This will help the city pursue more realistic tobacco-free projects through seeking factors that hamper the compliance with the law and ways to enhance citizens’ voluntary compliance.
In particular, as it is surveyed that the prolonged situation of COVID-19 has a positive influence on citizens’ decision to quit smoking, the SMG will spread the positive effects of not smoking through cooperative projects to lower chronic diseases and risks of COVID-19 at the same time, and strive to curb new smokers.
The relationship between COVID-19 and smoking is a matter of strengthening management. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) is managing those aged over 65 and smokers as high-risk groups of COVID-19. The WHO also added smoking as a risk factor that can cause serious diseases or death when the person is infected with COVID-19. Additionally, it selected “Commit to Quit” as the theme for World No Tobacco Day (May 31, 2021), strongly recommending to quit smoking for one’s own and family’s health in the midst of COVID-19.