People have died from tobacco-related diseases since the opening of the first FCTC working group on 28 October 1999.
Smokers in the South-East Asian region (ASEAN) start smoking on average before they are 20, the latest Tobacco Control Atlas has found.
The atlas, released by the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA), also says that smoking prevalence rates are high among males in the region, and cigarettes have become cheaper (in real terms) in all countries except Thailand.
This second edition of the atlas examines smoking prevalence, the economic impact of tobacco and action taken to combat tobacco use in 10 countries: Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Brunei and Vietnam.
The atlas also provide examples of the behavior of the tobacco industry (and its allies) in ASEAN countries, including legal challenges mounted against governments' tobacco control plans.
The atlas did reveal some positive points, such as:
- Opportunities to prevent an increase in smoking among females;
- Growth in smoke free areas, pictorial packet warnings and bans on advertising and promotion;
- Tobacco farmers do better financially by growing other crops.
“The reality is that tobacco control is good for the wealth as well as the health of nations," wrote Dr Judith Mackay of the World Lung Foundation. "One kilobyte of preventative action taken now is better than a gigabyte of economic costs in the future.”