Asia Pacific Conference On Tobacco Addresses Developing Country Smoking

American Public Media’s “Marketplace” reports on the Asia Pacific Conference on Tobacco or Health, where experts from 41 countries discussed how the tobacco industry has “been been targeting developing countries more and more” (10/7).

Voice of America adds that delegates “are particularly concerned about smoking rates in China, India and Indonesia, where hundreds of millions of people regularly consume tobacco.” Ian Olver from Cancer Council Australia said developing nations are targeted because they have high population growth rates and less regulation of tobacco products. The conference “aims to share expertise that could help developing countries counter tobacco marketing,” the news service writes (Mercer, 10/7).

“We need to be united and strong in standing up against the international onslaught to turn our people into smokers,” Surin Pitsuwan, secretary-general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said in the Marketplace report. “But in some emerging economies, governments often control tobacco monopolies and rely heavily on cigarette taxes for revenue. That makes efforts to reduce smoking difficult. For their part, many major tobacco companies including British American Tobacco deny specifically targeting or exploiting developing markets,” the piece continues (10/7).

“In China, for instance, the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration oversees all aspects of the industry, including tobacco production and distribution, and brings in tens of millions of dollars in revenue a year,” VOA writes (10/7).