7 million people around the World died every year due to the use of tobacco throughout their life time. In Myanmar, around 700,000 people died due to tobacco use. Half of these deaths died not due to by their fault of using tobacco by themselves, but due to the second hand smoking. Family members, mothers and children, of the smokers’ families suffered from various diseases like heart disease, lung and throat disease, hypertension and diabetes, chronic lung infections, etc., due to tobacco smoke made by their own family members, fathers, mothers, brothers, etc. WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) has stipulated that each Party shall adopt and effective legislative, executive, administrative and/or other measures, providing for protection from exposure to tobacco smoke in indoor workplaces, public transport, indoor public places and, as appropriate, other public places. In Myanmar, under the national tobacco control law of 2006, it has ban total smoking from various public places. In Article 6, all public places like education institutions such as public and private schools, universities, public places like markets, playgrounds, sport stadiums, and mass gathering halls. In Article 7, places like offices, hotels, motels, guest houses, restaurants, and public transportation are prohibited as non-smoking areas, but could have designated smoking places.
Since 2015, Ministry of Health and Sports and People’s Health Foundation started collaborative activities in establishment of smoke-free places in selected Regions and States. Shan State Health Department started with the programme on Smoke-free Pindaya and Inlay. Advocacy meetings were held in 9 Regions and States during 2016-2018. Chief Ministers and Social Ministers of all Nine Regional and State Governments took the lead for launching smoke-free places. Each region or state has taken different approaches, some with smoke-free universities, some for smoke-free religious places, some with mass campaigns like bicycle rides to create awareness, some initiated smoke-free hospitals, etc.