Asean anti-tobacco action urged

A regional anti-tobacco group has called on Asean members to coordinate a total ban on cigarette brand promotions of all types.

  • Published: 17/05/2013 at 10:35 AM
  • Newspaper section: breakingnews

The Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) claimed there are still loopholes that allow tobacco promotions, according to a report at the Philippines news site InterAksyon.com.

A photo of Bungon Ritthiphakdee, head of the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA), taken from her Facebook page.

"There is still room for the tobacco industry to communicate directly with young people," Bungon Ritthiphakdee, the Thai director of SEATCA told the website. "The loopholes must be plugged."

Ms Bungon said that "most" Asean governments have regulations in place to limit access to tobacco products. But they fail to meet standards of Article 13 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Only comprehensive efforts by national governments can prevent the gaps from being exploited by the tobacco industry, she said.

"Southeast Asia is the tobacco industry cash cow," she said, adding that companies "salivate" when expanding markets in the region.

She said Asean-wide action was necessary, "given the nature of our cross-border economies, the power of new media, and the marketing and lobbying prowess of the tobacco industry".

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