Big Tobacco’s smoke and mirrors in Asean

ABOUT 10 percent of the world’s one billion smokers live in the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean). Indonesia and the Philippines have some of the world’s largest smoking populations. In the low and middle-income countries (LMICs) of Asean, more than 560,000 people died due to tobacco-related diseases in 2016 alone. Even after more than ten years since the World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) came into force, the poorer countries of Asean – Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, and Vietnam – representing about 80 per cent of Asean’s population, still have relatively weak to moderate tobacco control measures. In terms of legislation, most of these countries have tobacco control measures that are in line with the FCTC. However, many of these interventions are not supported within their health systems, are weakly implemented because of lack of lack of political will, financing and human resources, or...


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