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Tobacco industry lobbying undermines public health in Asia

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 13 May 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h2451
  1. Nicholas S Hopkinson, senior lecturer in respiratory medicine1,
  2. Martin McKee, professor2,
  3. K Srinath Reddy, professor3
  1. 1NIHR Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit, Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust and Imperial College London, London SW3 6NP, UK
  2. 2London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  3. 3Public Health Foundation of India, Delhi, India
  1. Correspondence to N S Hopkinson n.hopkinson{at}

Industry targets tobacco control policies in Pakistan, India, and Laos

The implementation of tobacco control measures is a political choice. Although tobacco control will improve the wellbeing of the populations that governments serve, the industry spares no attempt to deter, dilute, or delay effective measures for tobacco control, be it taxation or prominent pictorial health warnings. There is troubling evidence that the tobacco industry is exerting undue influence in several Asian countries, in some cases with the complicity of governments, to thwart public health measures.

The case against tobacco is clear. An addiction that usually starts in childhood,1 smoking is predicted to kill one billion people in the 21st century,2 with a global social burden costing an estimated $2.1tn (Rs134tn; £1.4tn; €1.9tn) a year.3 The means to prevent this are set out clearly in the World Health Organization’s 2003 Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and the associated MPOWER policy framework (Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies, Protect people from tobacco smoke, Offer help to quit tobacco use, Warn about the dangers of tobacco, Enforce bans on tobacco …

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