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Study explores alarming threat of emerging Asian tobacco companies to global health

There are already one billion tobacco smokers worldwide, and this number is likely to rise further with Asian tobacco companies poised to enter the global market, according to SFU health sciences professor Kelley Lee.

http://www.sfu.ca/sfunews/stories/2017/03/theloomingthreatofasiantobaccocompaniestoglobalhealth.html

“While companies like British American Tobacco and Philip Morris, traditionally known as ‘Big Tobacco’, have been rightfully targeted by tobacco control efforts to date, on the horizon are several companies based in Asia ‘going global’ with their business strategies,” says Lee, a Tier I Canada Research Chair in Global Health Governance.

“Their aim is to grow their share of the world market through increased marketing, new products and lower prices. This is likely to mean more smokers worldwide.”

Lee and her team are the first to study the global business strategies of Asian tobacco companies, recently published in a special issue of Global Public Health entitled, “The Emergence of Asian Tobacco Companies: Implications for Global Health Governance.”

Their aim in analysing companies in Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan and Thailand was to document how these companies are shifting from a domestic focus to become aspiring transnational companies.

“Several of these companies have already started to export their brands to rapidly growing markets in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa,” says Lee.

“Their success will mean a further increase to the already six million deaths caused by tobacco use each year.”

These new research findings suggest that globalization of the tobacco industry may be entering a new phase.

Rather than supporting the expansion of these companies as sources of profit, Asian governments need to recognize that far greater economic, environmental and social costs are being caused by this deadly industry.

The authors conclude that collective action by all countries, focused on the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, is needed more than ever.

Lee sat down with SFU News to go over the five case studies that were examined in the special issue, and answered three questions about the findings:

What are the key factors behind the global business strategies of the five Asian tobacco companies?

Trade liberalization and tobacco industry lobbying pressured Asian countries to open their markets to transnational tobacco companies (TTCs) from the late 1980s. British American Tobacco, Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds and other companies introduced new brands, marketing methods and undermined tobacco control measures to gain a major share of the market in Asia.

The loss of domestic market share also prompted Asian tobacco companies, in turn, to look abroad to grow their own foreign markets. Their global business strategies have borrowed many of the practices used by existing transnational tobacco companies.

Which global business strategies have Asian companies pursued?

Government supported consolidation, restructuring and rationalizing of domestic operations. This included shutting down facilities deemed inefficient, merging smaller concerns into larger ones and upgrading production capacity.

The companies also increased manufacturing, specifically for export to foreign markets, and engaged in new product development to create brands that have global appeal.

Moreover, there has been product innovation, including specially designed filters, flavourings, super slim cigarettes and electronic cigarettes, as well as foreign direct investment in the form of joint ventures, overseas manufacturing and leaf growing operations.

How globalized are Asian tobacco companies to date?

Japan Tobacco International was the first Asian tobacco company to successfully globalize, beginning in the late 1990s, supported by the Japanese government as part owners. Today, Japan Tobacco International is the third largest transnational tobacco company in the world.

Korea Tobacco & Ginseng is well positioned to become the world’s next transnational tobacco company given its active and successful pursuit of foreign markets since privatisation in 2001. The company is achieving rapid growth in eastern Europe, the Middle East and South Asia countries.

The China National Tobacco Company is by far the world’s largest tobacco company but to date has been largely domestically focused. Consolidation has been followed by a strong commitment by the state owned monopoly to “go global” over the next decade through exports, overseas manufacturing and leaf production.

Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation and Thailand Tobacco Monopoly have both expressed ambitions to globalize, but remain domestically focused and are more likely to become regional players in the foreseeable future.

Tobacco Smoke Ups Rhinitis Rates in Asian Children

Tobacco smoke is associated with pediatric rhinitis among Asian children, according to cohort study findings presented at the 2017 AAAAI Annual Meeting

http://www.empr.com/aaaai-2017/pediatric-rhinitis-asian-non-allergic-immunoglobulin-e/article/642022/

“This Asian cohort demonstrates supportive evidence for positive association of tobacco smoke exposure with rhinitis, while the effect is mainly confirmed to non-allergic rhinitis and more pronounced in adolescents than in young children, highlighting the need for raising public health awareness about the detremental effects of tobacco smoke exposure on children’s respiratory health,” reported lead study author Hui-Ju Tsai, MPH, PhD, of the National Health Research Institutes in Miaoli, Taiwan, and coauthors.

Prior research demonstrated that tobacco smoke exposure harms respiratory health but few population studies have employed cotinine as an exposure biomarker, Dr. Tsai said. And so, the research team set out to examine tobacco smoke exposure and allergic disease among Asian children.

This population based study included a total of 1,315 children aged 5–18 years, who were assessed using questionnaire instruments, and allergen-specific immunoglobulin E, and serum cotinine concentrations as biomarkers of tobacco smoke exposure.

“Serum cotinine levels were positively associated with rhinitis ever (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 2.95, 95% CI: 1.15–7.60) and current rhinitis (AOR 2.71, 95% CI: 1.07–6.89), while the association for physician-diagnosed rhinitis approached significance (AOR 2.26, 95% CI: 0.88–5.83 [not significant]),” they reported.

No association was found for asthma or eczema, they noted. When data were stratified by patient age groups, these associations were significant only for children at least 10 years old (rhinitis ever AOR 3.34; 95% CI: 1.05–10.61; current rhinitis AOR 4.23; 95% CI: 1.28–13.97). For patient less than 10 years old, no significant association was detected.

“Stratified analyses demonstrated significant association of serum cotinine levels with current rhinitis among children without allergic sensitization (AOR 6.76, 95% CI: 1.21–37.74), but not among those with allergic sensitization,” they noted.

Research and Markets – Asia-Pacific $840.3 Million E-cigarette and Vaporizer

The APAC e-cigarette market currently valued at 840.3 million contributes a very small percentage in the global e-cigarette market.

Despite the presence of large number of smokers in the region, the e-cigarette and vaporizer market in APAC is at a nascent stage, with a large percentage of the popular still oblivious of the product. Consortiums and associations are playing a crucial rule in increasing market penetration by promoting public education campaigns to highlight the benefits of vapor products for adult smokers and familiarize them with new products in the market and their advantages. The prominent consortiums discussed in this segment are Asian Vape Association (AVA), Fact Asia, Malaysia E-Vaporizer and Tobacco Alternatives Association (MEVTA), and Philippine E-cigarette Industry Association (PECIA) among others.

With a slack regulatory regime and deep seated smoking habit entrenched in majority of its population, APAC has massive potential to turn into the hub for e-cigarettes and related products. The report on the APAC E-cigarette Device and Aftermarket’ is a meticulous compilation of the various facets of the e-cigarette and vaporizer industry. After a thorough analysis of the current trends, the market dynamic chapter includes the key push and pull forces prevailing in the APAC e-cigarette device and aftermarket.

Owing to the dependency of the market growth on the legal and regulatory framework, the report at each step has considered the effect of laws (both implemented and anticipated) in terms of regulations and taxation in estimation and forecast of the market size. Moreover, the key consortiums and compliance influencing the e-cigarette and e-liquid market across the continent have also been included in the report.

The report involves a mix of 25 companies chosen on the basis of their market developments, revenue generation and market share in the industry. The companies profiled in the report include Just Fog, Innokin, ITC, Kimree, First Union and Joyetech among others.

Key Questions answered in the report:

– How will the key market players leverage on key developments such as acquisitions, partnerships, and product launch among others?
– How will the intensity of competitive rivalry evolve through the forecast period?
– Which factors will be driving the market through the forecast period?
– What factors are currently challenging the APAC e-cigarette device and aftermarket and how can they be addressed through the forecast period?
– Which consortiums are active in the market?
– Which compliances and certifications are necessary to make a product acceptable among the users (especially the first time vapers)?
– What are the prevalent e-liquid types and what is the market size for each of them?
– How will the aftermarket (e-liquid, atomizers, and battery) grow in the next ten years?
– Who are the key players in the E-liqid e-cigarette market?

Key Topics Covered:

Executive Summary

1 Research Scope and Methodology
1.1 Scope of the Report
1.2 APAC E-cigarette and Vaporizer Market Research Methodology

2 Market Dynamics
2.1 Market Drivers
2.1.1 High Smoking Population and Need for Tobacco Alternatives
2.1.2 Emergence of Vape Shops and Online Distribution Channels
2.1.3 Price Sensitivity And Long Term Cost Effectiveness
2.1.4 Product Innovation
2.2 Market Challenges
2.2.1 Fragmented Market and Stringent Regulatory Framework
2.2.1.1 Fragmented Market
2.2.1.2 Stringent Regulatory Framework
2.2.2 Increase in Counterfeit Products Volume
2.2.3 Unregulated Manufacturing in China

3 Competitive Insights
3.1 Key Strategies and Developments
3.2 Industry Attractiveness

4 APAC E-cigarette Industry Key Consortiums and Alliances
4.1 Asian Vape Association (AVA)
4.2 Fact Asia
4.3 Malaysia E-Vaporizers and Tobacco Alternatives Association (MEVTA)
4.4 Tobacco Free Alternatives Association of India (TFFAI)
4.5 Philippine E-Cigarette Industry Association (PECIA)

5 APAC E-cigarette and Vaporizer Market Analysis and Forecast by Market Segment
5.1 Key Assumptions for Market Estimation and Forecast
5.2 Market Overview
5.3 APAC E-cigarette and Vaporizer Device Market
5.4 The APAC E-cigarette and Vaporizer Aftermarket (Components Market), Analysis and Forecast

6 APAC E-cigarette and Vaporizer Market Analysis and Forecast, by Distribution Channel
6.1 Market Overview
6.2 Online Distribution Channel
6.3 Retail Distribution Channels
6.3.1 Convenience Stores (C-Stores)
6.3.2 Vape Shops
6.3.3 Others (Pharmacies, Drug Stores and Gas Stations)

7 APAC E-Cigarette and Vaporizer Device & Aftermarket Analysis and Forecast by Key Countries
7.1 Market Overview
7.2 China

8 Company Profile
8.1 Electronic Cigarette Just Fog Co., Ltd.
8.2 Shenzhen FirstUnion Technology Co., Ltd.
8.3 Innokin Technology Co., Ltd.
8.4 ITC Limited
8.5 Joyetech
8.6 Kanger Technology Co., LTD.
8.7 Kimree, INC
8.8 L-Rider Technology Co. Ltd.
8.9 Mistlife
8.10 Shenzhen Smoore Technology Co., Ltd.
8.11 Smokefree
8.12 Timiya Technology Co., Ltd
8.13 Top Q
8.14 Samurai Vapors Co. Ltd.
8.15 Huizhou Hangboo Biotech Co., Ltd.
8.16 Hangsen

For more information about this report visit http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/9q3vjd/apac_ecigarette

Media Contact:

Research and Markets
Laura Wood, Senior Manager
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To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/research-and-markets—asia-pacific-8403-million-e-cigarette-and-vaporizer-device-and-aftermarket-analysis-and-forecast-2016-2025-featuring-just-fog-innokin-itc-kimree-first-union-and-joyetech-among-others-300406303.html

SOURCE Research and Markets

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Will ENDS justify the means?

The global anti-tobacco conference’s move to allow member nations to prohibit or restrict sale of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems provokes an outcry from harm reduction experts

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/will-ends-justify-the-means/article9339440.ece

The global anti-tobacco conference winded down on Saturday toeing a hard line towards e-cigarettes and other vaping devices. The seventh session of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) ended with Southeast Asian countries voting for complete prohibition of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) and Electronic Non-Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENNDS) in the region.

The clampdown rationale

The World Health Organisation’s concern stems from the fact that while public health policy has been slow to catch up, ‘vaping’ — a ‘tobacco-free’ version of the cigarette where smokers inhale the vapour through liquid in a vaporiser — has become extremely popular among smokers as a ‘healthier’ option to smoking.

All vaping devices heat a solution called ‘e-liquid’ to create an aerosol; the e-liquid comes in flavours that are dissolved into propylene glycol or/and glycerine. Health organisations maintain that the toxicants generated by e-liquids can vary enormously — even within brands — due to the increased thermal decomposition of e-liquid ingredients with rising applied temperatures in open system devices.

Arguing that new nicotine replacement devices were not a valid substitute for people trying to stop smoking, the FCTC has voted in favour of a regulation that allows member nations to prohibit or restrict sale of ENDS/ENNDS devices. “It now depends on national laws but India is likely to opt for complete prohibition. Other countries might choose to restrict access. India has taken a unified stand against ENDS as there are enough tobacco products in the market already. It will take us years to understand the full effects of ENDS products. There is not enough research and a complete prohibition will help prevent more tobacco-related illnesses,” says a member of the Indian delegation. According to WHO, the global market for ENDS/ENNDS in 2015 was estimated at almost $10 billion.

Sidestepping wider consultations

International harm reduction experts, however, warn that measures to limit access to e-cigarettes will result in nearly a million smokers dying. A recently released documentary film about vaping, ‘A Billion Lives’, has argued that e-cigarettes, whose health risks are far lower, could be useful in saving lives.

Some experts claim the lack of transparent discussions on ENDS could cost lives. “These are closed-door meetings and WHO officials have drafted proposals to ban less harmful alternatives to cigarettes without consultation with many member countries. Instead of an open and transparent discussion exploring the evidence and science of better, safer, non-combustible nicotine delivery products, countries that do not agree with a ban are being excluded from the process and the FCTC is even withholding documents from delegations,” charges Julian Morris, vice-president of The Reason Foundation think tank and harm reduction expert.

Alleging that WHO is giving up its responsibility to save lives by recommending prohibition and restriction on ENDS/ENNDS, Riccardo Polosa, another harm reduction expert, says, “If this is true, it is simply outrageous. If the WHO extinguishes e-cigarettes (ENDS), it will have passed up what is clearly one of the biggest public health innovations of the past quarter century — one that could potentially prevent hundreds of millions of premature deaths. It will also have abrogated its responsibility under its own charter to empower consumers to take control of their own health, something that millions are already doing.”

vidya.krishnan@thehindu.co.in

The government is likely to opt for a complete prohibition of ENDS/ENNDS devices, says a member of the Indian delegation to the WHO FCTC conference

WHO hails Azerbaijan`s ban on tobacco ad

http://news.az/articles/society/111282

The World Health Organization (WHO) has commended Azerbaijan`s imposing a ban on advertising of tobacco and tobacco products.

According to the Ministry of Health, in Twitter and Facebook posts, head of the Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Tibor Szilagyi described the prohibition of any form of advertising for any form of tobacco product as one of the achievements of Azerbaijan, AzerTag reports.

Szilagyi also shared a photo reflecting WHO-promoted No Tobacco Day campaign in Azerbaijan.

Wrong for governments to ban vaping, smokers say in survey

http://www.therakyatpost.com/news/2015/12/15/wrong-for-governments-to-ban-vaping-smokers-say-in-survey/

The majority of smokers in Asia believe their governments would be wrong to ban electronic cigarettes if the devices were scientifically proven to be less harmful than tobacco, according to a recent survey.

The survey, which was carried out by regional consumer advocacy group factasia.org, found that 75% of those polled were in favour of the government not preventing or delaying the introduction of less harmful alternatives.

The poll, which was recently conducted by a global market research company Ipsos, featured hundreds of respondents from Australia, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan.

Factasia.org’s co-founder John Boley said the respondents were also asked whether governments should encourage adult smokers to switch to less harmful alternatives and also ensure that they were not used by young people.

“There was very strong agreement,” he said during the “Harm Reduction in Asia – Developing a Regulatory Framework for E-cigarettes Symposium” here last week.

The symposium was organised by Factasia.org in the wake of the intense debate over the harm reduction potential of e-cigarettes as a less harmful alternative for adult smokers.

The group’s initiative comes at a time when the Hong Kong and Macau governments are considering completely banning the sales of e-cigarettes.

Authorities in Malaysia have already announced they will regulate rather than ban and proposals are expected to be reviewed and voted on by legislators in 2016.

Boley said 82% of the respondents felt that governments should encourage smokers to switch to less harmful alternatives.

“Incidentally, we also asked whether they thought they were okay with using e-cigarettes in their own country.

“There is an extraordinary degree of uncertainty as more of a third of the people polled across the region, or 36% of people in Hong Kong, do not know whether these things were legal or not.”

Boley also said 71% of the respondents agreed that e-cigarettes were a positive alternative to today’s conventional cigarettes while 70% of those interviewed would consider switching to e-cigarettes if they were legal, met quality and safety standards, and were readily available.

In August, Public Health England (PHE), the expert body that advises on public health in the United Kingdom, concluded that e-cigarettes were 95% less harmful to health than tobacco.

Meanwhile, Nav Lalji, founder of the Hong Kong-based Asian Vape Association, said he had been seeing more adult smokers switching to “vaping” in order to reduce or completely quit their tobacco dependence.

“We are seeing a rapid increase in adult smokers switching to vape products throughout Hong Kong.

“Most users are now ex-smokers who wished to quit but found traditional therapies, such as nicotine patches and chewing gums, ineffective.

“A lot of users strongly oppose a ban on e-cigarettes because this means that they will be forced to go back to using tobacco cigarettes, which ironically are not banned.”

He said that vaping was the most successful alternative to tobacco cigarettes due to its ability to replicate the act of smoking.

Undermining Global Best Practice in Tobacco Taxation in the ASEAN Region

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E-cigarettes should be banned — Mary Assunta

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/what-you-think/article/e-cigarettes-should-be-banned-mary-assunta

OCTOBER 4 — I have been following the reports on e-cigarettes and vaping in the media and wish to raise several important points.

Firstly, according to authoritative reports on e-cigarettes, its safety and efficacy in cessation have not been established. The official report by the World Health Organisation clearly states e-cigarettes are not free from toxicants and they have been approved as “safe” for use.

Their efficacy as a smoking cessation device has not been systematically evaluated yet. The evidence on the effectiveness of e-cigarettes as smoking cessation is limited.

Secondly, in recent times more research on risks of using e-cigarettes have emerged:

* E-cigarette vapour can contain cancer-causing formaldehyde at levels up to 15 times higher than regular cigarettes. The finding was published this year in New England Journal of Medicine.
* The Department of Environmental Health Sciences at Johns Hopkins University: “E-cigarette vapour alone produced mild effects on the lungs, including inflammation and protein damage.”
* The American Lung Association: Early studies show that e-cigarettes contain nicotine and other harmful chemicals, including carcinogens. A 2014 study found that e-cigarettes with a higher voltage level have higher amounts of formaldehyde.
* E-cigarettes make teenagers four times more likely to move on to real smoking, health experts warn. The study was published in JAMA Pediatrics.
According to the California Department of Health, the e-cigarette heats e-liquid that generally contains nicotine, flavourings, additives, and propylene glycol. The heated e-liquid forms an aerosol that is inhaled by the user.

The aerosol has been found to contain toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, lead, nickel, and acetaldehyde, all of which are chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, and other reproductive harm. These chemicals travel through the circulatory system to the brain and all organs.

The aerosol also contains high concentrations of ultrafine particles that are inhaled and get trapped in the lungs.

E-liquids are available in numerous candy and fruit flavours, including bubble gum, cherry and chocolate, which are especially appealing to youth and children who may accidentally ingest them.

The vaping community has ignored the problem of accidental ingestion — even a small amount of e-liquid may be lethal to a child. E-cigarette cartridges can leak and are not equipped with child-resistant caps, creating a potential source of poisoning.

The US Center for Disease Control reports the number of calls to poison centres involving e-liquids rose from one per month in 2010, to 215 per month in 2014. More than half of the calls to poison centres about e-liquids involved children under age 5 years.

Thirdly, vaping renormalises smoking. This has the potential to roll back years of anti-smoking campaign efforts of both the Ministry of Health and health professionals to educate the public on the dangers of smoking. Besides it will pose enforcement problems in public places that already have no-smoking zones established.

Fourthly, the pharmaceutical industry that normally promotes a variety of smoking cessation devices has not bought into e-cigarettes as a cessation device. Instead, transnational tobacco companies have bought e-cigarettes business and are promoting and marketing them as less harmful.

If e-cigarettes are indeed a less harmful alternative, the tobacco companies should recall their more harmful regular cigarettes and stop selling them.

Vaping is not harm-free. Vapers, who are not experts on e-cigarettes, have run away with extolling its merits. The risks of vaping and e-cigarettes have been downplayed and even ignored.

Many countries have already banned the sale of e-cigarettes, namely Brunei, Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore and Brazil. Japan and Australia have banned e-cigarettes with nicotine. The decision for the Ministry of Health is clear — e-cigarettes must be banned.

* Mary Assunta is senior policy adviser of the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA).

Southeast Asian Health Ministers Sign Anti-Tobacco Declaration

http://food.ndtv.com/health/southeast-asian-health-ministers-sign-anti-tobacco-declaration-1215298

According to a statement issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO), health ministers from 11 countries of the WHO South-East Asia region have signed a declaration pledging to accelerate hard-hitting measures to reduce tobacco use. The ministers gathered in Timor-Leste, capital of Dili, for the inaugural session of the 68th Regional Committee Meeting of the WHO South-East Asia region. With tobacco killing 150 people every hour in the region, they expressed their concern over high tobacco consumption “Tobacco use in South-East Asia is alarmingly high, triggering major health and economic consequences. Tougher actions are needed for tobacco control and prevention,” said Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director of WHO South-East Asia region. “Countries must equally tax all tobacco products, ban tobacco advertisements, enforce pictorial warning on cigarette packs and implement ban on public smoking,” she added.

The Dili Declaration called on governments, United Nations agencies and partners to accelerate tobacco control in the region which accounts for over one-third of the world’s tobacco use. “Tobacco kills 1.3 million people in the region every year, including people who were exposed to second-hand and third-hand tobacco effects. It is also home to 25 percent of the world’s smokers and 90 percent of the world’s smokeless tobacco users,” the statement said.Tobacco use has been identified as one of the major risk factors for serious diseases of the lung, heart, and cancer. In 2012, an estimated 62 percent deaths in the region were attributed to non-communicable diseases; of these 48 percent were below 70 years. Highlighting the fact that premature deaths were not only a loss to the families, but also have a huge economic impact on the country, Singh said there was an urgent need to “enforce stringent policies and measures to help people reduce and eventually quit tobacco”.

“WHO recommends enhancing awareness on the ill-effects of all types of tobacco products; effective control measures to reduce tobacco consumption and counter-interference of tobacco industry; strengthening taxation systems on tobacco products to reduce consumption, and enhancing surveillance, research and cessation of tobacco use,” she said.

Tobacco use kills over 1.3 million every year in Southeast Asia

http://www.india.com/news/world/world-health-organization-tobacco-use-kills-over-1-3-million-every-year-in-southeast-asia-538376/

Dili (Timor-Leste), Sep 7: Over 1.3 million people die of tobacco consumption in Southeast Asia every year, with the region consisting of 250 million smokers and nearly the same number of smokeless tobacco users, according to a senior official of World Health Organization Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director for South-East Asia, said: “We know that tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable deaths.” She was speaking at the inauguration of the WHO’s South-East Asia regional committee meeting here where health ministers and officials of 11 countries are meeting to set health priorities and discuss the health agenda for the region. (Also Read: World Health Organisation calls for higher taxes on tobacco)

“Worldwide, tobacco use kills nearly six million people annually with over 600,000 deaths due to exposure to second hand smoke,” she said at the inauguration, attended by Timor-Leste Prime Minister Rui Maria de Araújo, who was earlier the country’s health minister. Timor-Leste became the first new state of the 21st century when it achieved sovereignty on May 20, 2002.WHO has reiterated several times the number of deaths occuring because of tobacco use in Southeast Asia and other regions. Singh said the region was one of the largest producers and users of tobacco products in the world. “Many types of smoking and smokeless tobacco products are used in the region, which poses difficulties to harmonise taxation and regulations for controlling tobacco use,” she added.

But, she said, she was encouraged by the fact that the member state in the region had intensified their tobacco control activities. When asked later at a press conference on steps taken by India on tobacco control as compared to its regional partners, she said, India had “expressed an intention” to increase the size of pictorial warning on one side of the tobacco pack from 40 percent to 80 percent of the packet.She, however, declined to comment whether India would go ahead with its earlier commitment on pictorial warning.

Singh said WHO would continue to give advisory to India on tobacco control. She said that the best thing about the regional meeting was that the countries got to know the best practices of other countries to adopt. Thailand, she said, had graphic pictorial warning on both sides of the pack covering 85 per cent of the area, while Sri Lanka had 85 percent and Nepal 83 percent.

The latter intended to go up to 90 percent of the packet, she said adding that more countries were in the process of adopting larger warnings. Many countries had established smoke-free public places and banned advertisement of tobacco products, Singh said.Indonesia, she said, was not a signatory to the WHO convention on tobacco control, but on its own it had required 40 percent coverage of the cigarette packet with pictorial warning about the dangerous effects of smoking cigarettes. Although India is signatory to the WHO convention on tobacco control. India was not represented at the ministerial level at the regional meeting. J.P. Nadda is the minister of health. The meeting is from September 7 to September 11 at the state capital of the country which lies between Indonesia and Australia and occupies a land area of 14,874 km.