Developing nations focus on smoking

Phil Mercer Oct 7, 2010
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Developing nations focus on smoking

Phil Mercer Oct 7, 2010
HTML EMBED:
COPY

TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Public health officials from more than three dozen Asian-Pacific countries are meeting today in Australia to look at ways to tackle smoking. The tobacco industry’s been targeting developing countries more and more.

The BBC’s Phil Mercer reports from Sydney.


PHIL MERCER: Countries like India and China have been targeted by the tobacco industry because they’re very profitable. They’ve got a high growth rate in terms of population and they have less regulation of tobacco products. But health experts worry that the loss of life could get worse as tobacco companies increasingly target consumers in developing countries. It is estimated that if current trends continue, the number of smoking-related deaths in China alone will reach 2 million a year by 2020.

Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, the secretary-general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, says a concerted global approach is needed.

DR. SURIN PITSUWAN: We need to be united and strong in standing up against the international onslaught to turn our people into smokers.

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.

In Sydney, I’m the BBC’s Phil Mercer for Marketplace.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.