Thailand and Singapore top ASEAN tobacco control report card; Indonesia is failing

Bangkok, 24 January 2024 – Thailand, followed closely by Singapore, scored the highest in the 2023 tobacco control scorecard launched by the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) ahead of the tenth session of the Conference of Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, taking place in Panama from 5-10 February 2024.

The Tobacco Control Champion Award was also given by SEATCA to Thailand and Cambodia for exemplary actions in 2023. Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health was recognized for protecting children by defending its ban on electronic smoking devices, while Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism was awarded for promoting smoke-free tourism cities.

SEATCA launched the FCTC Scorecard through a virtual event attended by representatives from government and civil society organizations from 40 countries, including Her Excellency Dr Chanthanom Manithip, Permanent Secretary of the Lao PDR Ministry of Health and Chair of the ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting on Health Development.

“SEATCA congratulates Thailand and Cambodia for their decisive actions to protect public health that can be emulated by other countries,” said Dr Ulysses Dorotheo, Executive Director of SEATCA.

“This fourth edition of the FCTC Scorecard shows that, despite progress, there is still much work to be done to protect people, especially the youth, from the harms of tobacco and the tobacco industry,” said Dorotheo.

According to SEATCA, its civil society FCTC Scorecard reviews and reminds ASEAN governments of their obligations to implement evidence-based tobacco control measures in line with the WHO FCTC, which nearly all ASEAN Member States have ratified.

The 2023 Scorecard shows all ASEAN countries except Malaysia (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) had improved their overall scores from 2021, however, six countries (Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, and Vietnam) still scored below 50%, with Indonesia scoring the lowest (20.23%).

Singapore and the Philippines had good tobacco tax policies, while Thailand and Vietnam are outstanding in financing tobacco control. Thailand and Singapore also stand out for their standardized tobacco packaging policies, being the first and only two in Asia to implement this measure.

SEATCA’s FCTC Scorecard also highlights policy gaps that need to be addressed. Compared with 2021 scores, the Philippines had regressed in countering tobacco industry interference. All countries need to continue raising taxes to keep pace with economic growth and to continually make tobacco products less affordable. Indonesia is lagging in almost all tobacco control measures, including banning all tobacco advertising, smoke-free-environments, large pictorial health warnings, and preventing tobacco industry interference.


Contact Information:
Val Bugnot, Media and Communications Manager, SEATCA
Email: val@seatca.org
Mobile: +63917312460

About SEATCA

SEATCA is a multi-sectoral non-governmental alliance promoting health and saving lives by assisting ASEAN countries to accelerate and effectively implement the tobacco control measures contained in the WHO FCTC. Acknowledged by governments, academic institutions, and civil society for its advancement of tobacco control 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.

 

 

 

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