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13th APACT 2021, Bangkok, Thailand,

The Asia Pacific region has the highest number of tobacco consumption globally. With the economic and demographic growth, the region has become a crucial market and prime target for transnational tobacco industries on expanding business. The rigorous marketing efforts of Tobacco Industry have brought concerns to health and development advocates in the region that led the formation of Asia Pacific Association for Control of Tobacco (APACT). In line World Conference on Tobacco or Health, executive member of APACT organized biennial meetings named Asia Pacific Conference on Tobacco or Health (APACT).

The first APACT was held in Taipei, China on June 12th 1989. Since then, APACT has developed and become a regional forum to exchange and share strategies, experiences and research, as well as to gain and strengthen networks in tobacco control among Asia Pacific countries.

APACT bring together the region’s high-level delegates and key stakeholders to co-create holistic solutions, to facilitate partnerships, and to share best practices to the global tobacco control challenge towards ending the tobacco epidemic.

13th APACT was held at Bangkok, Thailand, from 3-4 September, 2021.

13th Asia Pacific Conference on Tobacco or Health Declaration

Tobacco use, with its known adverse health risks, is now even more of a hazard, further straining public health systems that have already been stretched, fractured, and decimated during the pandemic. The removal of face masks, repetitive hand-to-mouth actions, and spread of respiratory droplets through tobacco smoke and e-cigarette aerosol while smoking could accelerate coronavirus transmission. And smokers are more likely to become seriously ill and die from COVID-19 than non-smokers. Yet, it is business as usual for the tobacco industry; cigarettes, electronic nicotine delivery systems, and heated tobacco products continue to be aggressively promoted, including to young people.

Tobacco companies even falsely present themselves as part of the pandemic relief solution by engaging in COVID-19 vaccine development and well-publicized corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. And governments have been pressured by this non-essential industry to allow tobacco product manufacturing to continue unabated during the pandemic.

With every aspect of life affected by COVID-19, we, the delegates of APACT13 declare that effective tobacco control is now more critical than ever. We must stop the tobacco industry in its tracks. The COVID-19 pandemic is an additional and crucial reason for us to expedite the endgame for the tobacco epidemic. Governments must reduce both the supply and the demand of these lethal products, as outlined in the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which is the comprehensive bare-minimum blueprint for tobacco control implementation.

The Conference makes the following recommendations.