Thailand - - a computer game - to combat smoking among the young..

November 2, 2010 - Thailand is one of the leading countries in the world in terms of tobacco control ... [but] tobacco consumption among 13- to 15-year-old students is higher compared to other countries in the region, said Dr Khalil Rahman, WHO Coordinator for Tobacco Control in Southeast Asia. (SHOWING THE TRUTH ABOUT TOBACCO The World Health Organization is calling for more effective warnings on tobacco packaging, Writer: Tim Ryan, Bangkok Post, 5/31/2009)

Now anti-smoking campaigners have come up with a new tool - a computer game - to combat smoking among the young. The game, which can be played online at, was launched yesterday, October 31st in the hope of deterring the young from taking up the habit, and to motivate those who are addicted to tobacco to quit.

The creator, Jeeranat Paet-udom, said designing and developing the game "Cigs Buster" took him a year. The game tells the story of a young reporter who is hired to replace his predecessor who was kidnapped by a tobacco firm. The reporter picks up tips about the whereabouts of the missing newsman from an old camera he finds in his desk drawer.

Mr Jeeranat said the hardest part of his work was designing the game to make it fun and educational to play at the same time.

Prakit Vathesatogkit, secretary-general of the Action on Smoking and Health Foundation, said his group chose the computer game to send the anti-smoking message because the industry is turning to younger people, particularly teenagers, as their new sales targets. Across the world, 1.8 billion people aged 10-24 are smokers - and up to 85% of them come from developing countries. Tobacco companies are trying to lure the young into taking up the habit, to replace those who have died from smoking-related illnesses, he said.

About 12 million Thais smoke, including more than one million people aged under 24 years. The average age of Thais who start smoking is 15 and the average age of those who quit is 41, mostly due to deteriorating health and economic factors. Young smokers should be shown that they are being targetted by tobacco firms, he said. Research shows the young have a tendency to quit smoking if they know they are being victimised.

Natnicha Sripo, a third-year student from Thammasat University's faculty of science and technology, surveyed cigarette stall owners in Siam Square. She found most sell contraband cigarettes without health warnings. The cigarettes are mostly flavoured cigarettes and few traders bother to ask young buyers about their age, she said. "It's no wonder the number of teen smokers remains high despite all the anti-smoking campaigns since people can buy cigarettes any place and at any time," she said.
"They also have a wide range of flavours to choose from."

Reference: Computer game takes on cigs, Writer: Lamphai Intathep, Bangkok Post, 11/1/2010.

Some other Thailand news briefs:
Thailand - EU free-trade agreement (FTA) stuck over alcohol and tobacco..;
Thailand govt - wants to ban the growing of Burley and Oriental tobacco..;
Thailand - more measures put in place to protect non-smokers..;
Thailand - number of no-smoking zones expanded..;
Thailand - PMI likely breached the Foreign Business Act..;
Thai Tobacco Monopoly withdraws products from Tabinfo Asia 2009..;
Thailand - organizer of international tobacco exhibition fined..;
Thailand - hand-rolled cigarettes more popular and other matters..;
WTO - "DS 371" Philippines versus Thailand on cigarette customs valuation..;
Thailand - Tobacco Expo organizers and guests must obey all tobacco control laws..;
Thailand unit of Philip Morris International faces charges that it violated custom tax rules..;
Thailand - hosting major tobacco promotion event in November 2009..;
Thailand Tobacco Monoploly - union concerned about privatization..;
Thailand - monks sickly from tobacco smoking and/or smoke exposure..;
Philippines - Thai cigarette import rules..;
Thailand - cigarette and liquor prices are expected to rise once new measures for calculating excise taxes take effect..;
Congratulations.. Thailand Joins Developed World With Total Ban On Smoking..;
Discouraging Tobacco Use - Horrific Images on the Packaging..

- Thailand is a member of Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA)..