Manila, 23 January 2019: The Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) exposes how the tobacco industry is trying to sneak Heated Tobacco Products (HTPs) into bills being deliberated in the Senate and House of Representatives to regulate Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) or e-cigarettes.
“This deception is a typical move by the tobacco industry to weaken tobacco product regulation,” said Dr. Ulysses Dorotheo, Executive Director of SEATCA. “Tobacco companies are trying to deceive the public by claiming that HTPs are less harmful than regular cigarettes, but health authorities in the US and the UK have already rejected this claim,” he added.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated explicitly that HTPs are not e-cigarettes. HTPs heat tobacco to generate nicotine, while e-cigarettes heat e-liquid, which may or may not contain nicotine and do not contain tobacco. The WHO further emphasized that all forms of tobacco use are harmful, including HTPs. Tobacco is inherently toxic and contains carcinogens and toxicants even if not burned. Therefore, HTPs should be subject to regulatory measures applied to all tobacco products, in line with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
“Because they contain tobacco, HTPs are more harmful than e-cigarettes; they should be regulated as tobacco products. In fact, HTPs are already covered by Republic Act 9211 (Tobacco Regulation Act 2003), and the WHO FCTC, which the Philippines ratified in 2005,” added Dorotheo.
According to researchers at the University of California San Francisco, HTPs are an extension of the tobacco industry strategy of undermining government regulation by claiming they are part of the solution to the tobacco epidemic. Under the guise of ‘harm reduction’, the tobacco industry is attempting to rehabilitate their reputation so they can more effectively influence governments to create exemptions for their HTPs and roll back tobacco control policies to renormalize tobacco use and increase social acceptability for their products.
In the ASEAN region, Brunei, Cambodia, Singapore and Thailand have already banned the sale of all new and emerging tobacco products, such as HTPs.
- Heated tobacco products: another tobacco industry global strategy to slow progress in tobacco control – https://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/27/Suppl_1/s111
- Heated tobacco products (HTPs) information sheet – https://www.who.int/tobacco/publications/prod_regulation/heated-tobacco-products/en/
- The Tobacco Control Atlas: ASEAN Region – Chapter 11: Protecting Future Generations from Nicotine Addiction – https://seatca.org/dmdocuments/SEATCA Tobacco Control Atlas ASEAN Region 4th Ed Sept 2018.pdf
SEATCA is a multi-sectoral non-governmental alliance promoting health and saving lives by assisting ASEAN countries to accelerate and effectively implement the evidence-based tobacco control measures contained in the WHO FCTC. Acknowledged by governments, academic institutions, and civil society for its advancement of tobacco control movements in Southeast Asia, the WHO bestowed on SEATCA the World No Tobacco Day Award in 2004 and the WHO Director-General’s Special Recognition Award in 2014.