And now for some recent global news! The Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) has totally rejected a so-called “comprehensive research” that was funded by the big tobacco companies on the topic of illicit trade in Asia. The “research” titled “Asia-14 Illicit Tobacco Indicator” was labeled as FAILED by its primary reviewer, Prof. Hana Ross, Principal Research Officer of the Economics of Tobacco Control Project at the University of Cape Town, and I quote:
“The quality of the original data collection is questionable due to the lack of representativeness and possibly intended bias. Many secondary data come from sources with an obvious conflict of interest.”
“More seriously, the report is full of errors and mistakes, which is surprising given the ‘commercial’ quality of the results. For example, the report does not make any distinction between smoking incidence and smoking prevalence, even though these are two very different concepts. It also confuses ‘sales’ and ‘consumption,’ two fundamental concepts on which the calculations are based.”
Moreover, she stated:
“While illicit tobacco trade is a problem that requires government attention, it is often blown out of proportion and out of context by the tobacco industry in order to discourage governments from increasing tobacco taxes and implementing other regulatory measures.”
Dr. Ulysses Dorotheo, SEATCA’s FCTC program director, concludes with a statement I strongly accept:
“Governments should reject partnerships and non-binding agreements with the tobacco industry to solve illicit trade. Instead, governments should secure the supply chain in accordance with measures contained in the FCTC Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, which was adopted in 2012 by the 180 Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).”
Are they reading my blog over there in south East Asia? Let’s hope more and more countries come to these conclusions, and reject tobacco sponsored “research” disguised as “anti-illicit trade” when they are actually “pro self-regulation” by the tobacco industry.