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Latest Publications

Tobacco industry duplicity: Recycling an old marketing code (PDF 3.2mb)

This report aims to expose the deceptive practice of the tobacco industry to push for voluntary codes in order to mislead, gain public and government acceptance, and avoid strict regulations.

The industry’s promotion of tobacco and nicotine products, under the guise of harm reduction, is a strategy to lobby against stringent regulations. It refers to these products as “reduced-risk” products and differentiates them from cigarettes and other tobacco products, which it brands as “high-risk” products. This is reminiscent of the industry rhetoric that light, mild, or low-tar cigarettes are “less harmful” than regular cigarettes.

Banning electronic smoking devices works: Lessons from Singapore for the ASEAN (PDF 1.3mb)

The ASEAN market is flooded with electronic smoking devices (ESDs) such as electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and heated tobacco products (HTPs). While the tobacco industry and nicotine industry aggressively promote ESDs as “less harmful” to recruit customers, these products are not safe and only worsen the tobacco epidemic. 

This report from SEATCA features lessons from Singapore in successfully banning ESDs to prevent these products from being entrenched in the country. The government uses a multi-pronged approach, involving cooperation and coordination with relevant government agencies, to enforce the ban and address illegal entry of ESDs and related violations of the law. 

SEATCA Tobacco packaging and labelling index: Implementation of Article 11 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in ASEAN Countries (PDF 8.1mb)

The newly updated SEATCA Tobacco Packaging and Labelling Index examines the implementation of WHO FCTC Article 11 across 10 ASEAN countries and reports on progress and gaps as the region strives to implement stronger policies on tobacco packaging and labelling, including standardized packaging. Thailand, Singapore, and Myanmar champion standardized packaging in Asia and are among 24 countries worldwide that now require standardized packaging.

Lost Rupiahs: A study on delayed implementation of optimal tax policy in Indonesia (PDF English 3.1mb, Bahasa 1mb)

Documents how an opportunity to collect USD 7.2 billion (IDR 1.8 trillion) was forgone because of a complicated multi-tiered tobacco tax system. Despite regular tax increases and reduction of the tiers, kretek cigarettes in Indonesia have remained affordable because smokers shift to cheaper brands. As a result, over the past 10 years there has been only a miniscule 1.3 percentage decrease in smoking prevalence which has not made a dent in Indonesia’s 65 million smoking population.

Tax policy is a proven tobacco control measure and in Indonesia 457,700 lives could have been saved in 2021 if an optimal tax increase of 20 percent had been applied to tobacco. The tobacco industry has played a major role in undermining tax increases with misleading information and scare tactics. In 2022, Indonesia needs to increase excise tax by average 25 percent to have a significant reduction in smoking prevalence, save more lives and collect higher revenue. For full report:

Online promotion of E-Cigarettes in Indonesia (PDF 6mb)

The decline in the global prevalence of cigarette smoking for the past two decades, especially in developed countries has contributed to a fall in tobacco industry profits. This has prompted tobacco companies to expand their business by producing and marketing new nicotine-based products in various countries, including Indonesia. This study reported the magnitude of the problem of advertising and promotion of e-cigarettes on social media (Instagram) and the potential of vape consumption increase through online sales in Indonesia.

The ASEAN Tobacco Control Atlas 5th Edition (PDF 57mb) (Online version)

The fifth edition of the Tobacco Control Atlas: ASEAN Region tracks the progress on applying measures that reduce the demand for tobacco in accordance with the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) across the ten ASEAN countries since the first edition in 2013. It provides up-to-date evidence presenting an immediate and visual comparison between countries and tracking the rapid changes of tobacco control policies implementation in each country. The atlas clearly highlights how the ASEAN community continues to be a target of the tobacco industry, and it appreciates the steady tobacco control progress made by ASEAN member states while also identifying areas for continuing work to meet international best practices in line with the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) and the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Asian Tobacco Industry Interference Report 2021 (PDF 313kb)

This 3rd Asian Tobacco Industry Interference index measures the level of implementation of Article 5.3 and its guidelines in 19 countries. Mongolia joins the roster of countries in addition to Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.

“Lost Funds: A study on the tobacco tax revenue gap in selected ASEAN countries” PDF 830kb

This report  assesses the magnitude of fiscal shortfalls in four selected ASEAN countries: Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam that are missing out on collecting more tobacco tax revenue due to the failure to raise tobacco taxes to the recommended levels, reduce the affordability of smoking, and/or remove complex tax structures. The key findings include: 1.3 million premature deaths could be prevented and additional
USD 4.81 billion in tax revenue would have been collected in Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam in the last two years if the governments of these four countries implemented the recommended tax changes

Uang yang hilang: Studi kesenjangan penerimaan cukai tembakau di Indonesia PDF 3.1mb (Bahasa)

This report  assesses the magnitude of fiscal shortfalls in Indonesia that is missing out on collecting more tobacco tax revenue due to the failure to raise tobacco taxes to the recommended levels, reduce the affordability of smoking, and/or remove complex tax structures. The key findings include:  the tax revenue gap in Indonesia is especially large in 2021, because the government did not increase taxes on the hand-rolled kretek cigarettes in this year and continued with its complicated tax system of 10 tiers.

Tobacco/e-cigarette industry and front groups distort human rights and consumer rights PDF 315kb

Tobacco products and Electronic Smoking Devices (ESDs) are harmful to human and environmental health. Governments are duty-bound to implement appropriately strict regulations to protect citizens from such harmful products. However, the tobacco and ESD industry and its front groups are misleading policymakers and society by twisting consumer and human rights to suit their own commercial agenda without regard for public health. 

The report will provide information to tobacco control advocates and policymakers to protect consumers and the public, including our youths, from addiction and other health harms, these tactics by the tobacco and ESD industry to undermine or subvert tobacco control efforts must be exposed and rejected, and effective stringent regulatory policies must be fully implemented.

Whitewashing a Harmful Business: Review of Tobacco Industry’s CSR Activities in ASEAN 2021 PDF 11mb

This report highlights the tactics of the tobacco industry in leveraging corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities as a loophole to lure, exploit, and confuse governments to give in to its interests. The industry has been framing its CSR activities as donations and acts of charity when in truth, these activities are funded by their marketing funds. These activities are done to bring the attention away from the deaths and illness that tobacco products cause and to wrongly paint a picture of the tobacco industry as a benefactor and an ally to achieve sustainable development. The COVID-19 pandemic has served as a smokescreen for the tobacco industry to step in with their activities including donations of medical supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE), and even funding vaccine research and manufacture. The report also notes that the industry has become more tactical in supporting high profile non-government organizations and movements, aiming to give credence and legitimacy to its charitable acts. The report recommends a  ban on all CSR activities of the industry and prevent it from conducting any activity concerning youth or those that involve the education system. The report also calls on ASEAN governments to reject grants and partnership with the industry and publicize their official position on interacting with the industry.