Regional Updates

100% smoke-free pushed to prevent the spread of COVID-19

February 2021, The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a fervent call for the establishment of more smoke-free environments in the Philippines to uphold every Filipino’s right to health as provided for in Article II Section 15 of the Philippine Constitution which states that the State shall promote people’s right to health and instill health consciousness …

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Filipinos want national smoking ban in public places, survey says

4 February 2021 Claudeth Mocon-Ciriaco, Business Mirror: More can still be done to ensure the safety of Filipinos when it comes to the harmful effects of smoking and the results of a recent survey may lead policy-makers to the right direction. According to a survey conducted by Pulse Asia in December 2020, there is overwhelming …

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What happens when Big Tobacco’s pandemic donations tangle with Philippine politicians drafting new laws?

January 2021 Lina Sagaral Reye, Eco-Business: Major tobacco firms have long used corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities to cosy up to government officials and policy makers across the world. In the Philippines, pandemic donations have been made at a time when an industry-friendly vaping bill was being pushed in Congress, critics claim. Image: Eco-Business A …

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Malaysia: did the tobacco industry collaborate with media to defeat tax increase?

26 January 2021 Marita Hefler, BMJ: Mohamad Haniki Nik Mohamed It has been five years since Malaysia last had a tobacco tax increase. The 2021 budget, announced in November 2020, was an opportunity to correct this shortcoming and use one of the most cost-effective measures available to governments to reduce smoking. Instead, tobacco taxes remained …

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Philippines: Dark side to Big Tobacco’s Covid-19 CSR activities?

16 December 2020 Lina Sagaral Reyes, Eco-Business: Donations of ventilators and supplies are part of a ‘classic tactic’ by the industry to get close to governments and try to undermine health policies, say public health advocates. Should tobacco firms’ CSR activities be allowed? On 26 March this year, as the Philippines recorded 707 Covid-19 cases two …

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PASS OR FAIL: Findings from Asian and ASEAN Tobacco Industry Interference Indexes

On 20 November 2020, SEATCA gathered public health experts, tobacco control advocates and government agencies to launch the 2020 Asian and ASEAN Tobacco Industry Interference Indexes covering 18 countries from the region. The webinar entitled ‘PASS OR FAIL: Findings from Asian and ASEAN Tobacco Industry Interference Indexes’ moderated by SEATCA Senior Policy Advisor, Dr. Mary Assunta, featured …

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Tobacco Industry Capitalizes on Pandemic to Increase Influence in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

20 November 2020 Jennie Lyn Reyes, IPS: BANGKOK, Thailand, While the COVID-19 pandemic has elevated public health to a top priority in every country in the world, it has left many poorly resourced governments receptive to any and all aid that can provide immediate assistance to help their people. The pandemic pandemonium has provided unprecedented …

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Malaysia: Ban alternative tobacco products to save lives

3 November 2020 Dr Mohamad Haniki Nik Mohamed, New StraitsTimes: LETTER: I am responding to the letter, “The need for alternative products” by John Soosai (Nov 2, 2020), which presents a one-sided view with skewed arguments to promote tobacco and nicotine-containing products. Firstly, while he claims to share findings from the conference he attended, he …

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Philippines: Communal eating and smoking noted to cause Covid-19 spread

10 September 2020 NewsLine Philippines: DAVAO CITY — A top health official says Communal eating and smoking together in chambers are seen to open opportunities for COVID-19 to spread as these require masks to be taken off. A report published by the Philippine Information Agency stated that no less than Health Undersecretary for Vis-Min Field Implementation Office, …

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