UN World Health Organisation’s Director-General Margaret Chan presented Prime Minister Viktor Orbán with the World No Tobacco Day 2013 award on Tuesday in recognition of his government's non-smoking initiatives.

The acknowledgement primarily goes to those Hungarian citizens, who used to light one cigarette after another but have now succeeded in giving up, the Prime Minister said, adding that it can now be stated that more and more people in Hungary are choosing to give up smoking.

Photo: Gergely Botár

In view of the fact that the country is leading mortality statistics in smoking-related lung cancer, the Hungarian Government has introduced several measures to combat smoking and protect non-smokers. Listing such measures, the Prime Minister recalled that in 2012, smoking was prohibited in enclosed as well as in some public spaces and from 2013 tobacco products can only be sold if they include illustrated warnings on their packaging. He also underlined the importance of introducing daily physical education lessons at schools.

Photo: Gergely Botár

In her statement, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan praised the Hungarian Prime Minister for having the courage to fight against smoking, thus defending the health of his fellow citizens. Before presenting the award, she acknowledged the Prime Minister’s victory over the „tactics of the tobacco industry”. Hungary is on the UN organization’s honour list for providing citizens with smoke-free, fresh air in public areas, the Director-General said. She also asked the Government to inform the WHO about additional health-protection measures, including taxes the Government decided to levy on food products that are high in fat, sugar and salt.

(Prime Minister's Office)