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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 61  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 3-6

Regulating smokeless tobacco and processed areca nut in South-East Asia region: The journey so far and the road ahead

1 Regional Advisor, Tobacco-Free Initiative, Regional Office for South-East Asia, World Health Organization, Faridabad, Haryana, India
2 Director, Department of Noncommunicable Diseases and Environmental Health, Regional Office for South-East Asia, World Health Organization, Faridabad, Haryana, India
3 Freelance Public Health Consultant, Faridabad, Haryana, India

Correspondence Address:
Arvind Vashishta Rinkoo
Freelance Public Health Consultant, 15/8, Faridabad, Haryana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijph.IJPH_242_17

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South-East Asia Region (SEAR) has more smokeless tobacco users as compared to smokers. The growing prevalence and cultural acceptance of consumption of flavored areca nut and related products, for example, supari and pan masala in many countries are confounding the scenario. The prevalence of a variety of tobacco products makes regulation a challenge which gets more complicated in view of weak enforcement of regulatory policies aggressive marketing of such products by the tobacco industry. Some countries have attempted to regulate smokeless tobacco and related products by enforcing bans. However, limited evidence base along with lack of technical and regulatory capacities have restricted the SEAR countries to effectively implement product regulation in respect of smokeless tobacco and related products. This paper lays out specific priorities for research and need to enhance regulatory capacity for smokeless tobacco and processed areca nut in the SEAR countries. A systematic and comprehensive search was conducted to identify all original published literature related to regulating smokeless tobacco and processed areca nut. Studies reporting on the same were obtained through searches in relevant academic databases. Relevant World Health Organization (WHO) documents and reports on tobacco products regulation were consulted. Generating the right evidence along with the need to build the capacity of the countries to test the smokeless tobacco and processed areca nut products by establishing testing facilities and providing practical guidelines is of paramount importance. The countries of the SEAR need to prioritize the implementation of Articles 9 and 10 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to strengthen the regulation of smokeless tobacco and processed areca nut products.

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