Duplicity: Heated Tobacco Products Strategy in Low - and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs): A Philippine Case Study
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Global Center for Good Governance in Tobacco Control, Thailand
CommonHealth, Philippines
House of Representatives, Philippines
Publication date: 2019-03-26
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2019;5(Supplement):A33
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Tobacco companies are employing the same tactics they have used for years to market tobacco “harm reduction”, like heated tobacco products (HTPs) and e-cigarettes/ electronic nicotine delivery devices. Despite their harm reduction claim and attempt to repackage their image as partners in tobacco control (TC), they are duplicitous, opposing effective TC measures and capitalizing on the poor regulatory environments of LMICs. Coupled with inadequate TC measures for cigarettes and disproportionately high number of youth and poor, re-normalization of tobacco use is likely to occur. This paper examines how the tobacco industry executes its double-edged strategy to create a new market and expand the current one.

The authors examined pending legislations, available transcripts, and observations of civil society organizations involved in policy development, and analyzed market trends in the Philippines.

Philip Morris (PM) was observed to drive weak e-cigarette regulation in the country. Despite its alleged commitment to less harm, smoke free, and FCTC, it backed less stringent reforms on tobacco regulation (low tobacco taxes, less than “100% smoke-free” laws), and failed to recommend robust safeguards to prevent youth uptake of HTPs/e-cigarettes notwithstanding proliferation of recreational use.

PM is employing a dual strategy in its positions in legislative processes, that would likely result in increase in youth or recreational use considering the country’s market condition and regulatory environment. Its strategy may not be an isolated case and much can be learned from other LMICs to ensure that the global corporation and its allies are held accountable for their actions. 

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