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Tobacco remains a significant global health threat, causing over 8 million deaths every year. Most of these preventable deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, where smoking prevalence is high and the tobacco industry is deeply influential. Tobacco use also has significant economic implications, costing an estimated US$ 1.4 trillion in health expenditures and loss of productivity. The ASEAN region is home to 122 million smokers, over half of whom reside in Indonesia alone (65 million). Tobacco control has long been an issue of critical importance globally. The influx of e-cigarettes is expanding the landscape of tobacco use and addicting ever-growing numbers of youth who are easy and lucrative targets for the tobacco industry. E-cigarettes are falsely touted by the tobacco industry as less harmful alternatives to regular cigarettes, but a growing body of evidence is showing that e-cigarettes are harmful and should not promoted as safer alternatives.
Continued, coordinated, and intensified actions must be taken now by governments and civil society to invest in tobacco control measures and counteract the harms being inflicted by the irresponsible, profit-motivated tobacco industry. We need to: Establish tobacco tax systems that more effectively reduce tobacco affordability and discourage consumption.