Tobacco industry still thwarting governments in South-East Asia
In South-East Asia, “The tobacco industry continues to interfere with, deter and thwart governments’ efforts to protect public health through both overt and covert means,” says a new report by the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA).
The industry “lobbies and dissuades governments from developing and implementing stringent tobacco control policies that are effective. Such obstructive tactics must be exposed to illustrate the various ways in which the industry carries out these activities,” adds SEATCA’s 2016 Tobacco Industry Interference Index.
Key findings of the report include:
- “Brunei Darussalam maintains its good record, and the Philippines shines as a leader in the region on dealing with tobacco industry interference through introduction of concrete measures.”
- “Cambodia and Malaysia show good progress in addressing industry interference especially in policy development.”
- “Indonesia, a non-Party to the FCTC, continues to languish at the bottom as tobacco industry interference worsens.”
- “Myanmar and Vietnam, new entrants in the survey, show high levels of industry interference.”
The report makes the following recommendations:
- “Procedures need to be put in place to reduce tobacco industry participation in policy development in every country.”
- “Transparency is needed in dealing with the tobacco industry, and this is a major area that needs improvement.”
- “Require tobacco companies to disclose and report on all expenditure on marketing, retailer incentives, philanthropy, lobbying and political contributions.”
SEATCA urges governments to dramatically scale up efforts to implement Article 5.3 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which is vital in strengthening tobacco control.