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Tobacco-industry CSR in Asia linked to marketing, say anti-tobacco activists

| November 12, 2013

Tobacco control advocates in Southeast Asia are calling for tougher rules to ban cigarette-company contributions and sponsorships, according to a story in The Philippine Star.

The director of the Southeast Asian Tobacco Control Alliance, Bunon Ritthiphakdee, said tobacco companies were making sponsorship a part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs so as to skirt around laws and policies banning such activities.

“These CSRs are nothing more than disguised marketing campaigns, and should therefore be exposed and stopped,” she said in a statement.

“If we understand the agenda behind tobacco industry CSRs, we can also be more effective in monitoring and regulating such activities under the global tobacco treaty, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

“National and regional measures are needed to make the public aware that the tobacco industry’s CSR activities are as toxic as cigarette smoke,” she added.

Ritthiphakdee said that among the countries of the region, only the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam had legislative measures in place to ban CSR activities and/or the publishing of CSR activities.

The Philippines’ education department, she claimed, had issued a circular to restrict interaction of officials with the tobacco industry and that included a prohibition on the tobacco industry contributing funds.

Thailand, through a Cabinet decision, had banned both donations by tobacco companies to government agencies and the publishing of CSR activities.

And a tobacco control law passed in Vietnam last year had banned tobacco-industry CSR activities related to culture and sport, she added.

Category: Breaking News

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