Common assumptions in tobacco control that may not hold true for South-East Asia

Kamran Siddiqi*, Monika Arora, Prakash C. Gupta

*Corresponding author for this work

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Tobacco is a threat to public health in South-East Asia and its control should be a priority. However, many common assumptions about tobacco control may not hold true for the region and can misdirect policy. The substantial health risks associated with smokeless tobacco have been largely misunderstood and neglected. The syndemic association between tuberculosis and tobacco has also been overlooked. Similarly, less attention has been paid to address second-hand smoke exposure of pregnant women to indoor smoking (caused predominantly by men). On the other hand, our poor understanding of the diverse tobacco supply chain has been blocking progress in tobacco control. Finally, the rising popularity of electronic cigarettes has thrown new challenges; many governments, concerned for its youth, have banned such products. We argue for a nuanced approach to tobacco control in South-East Asia. We also encourage a wider debate in public health, where other established assumptions may be hampering progress.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100088
JournalThe Lancet Regional Health. Southeast Asia
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

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