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E-Cigarette Markets and Policy Responses in Southeast Asia: A Scoping Review

Published in the International Journal of Health Policy and Management, this study reviews the situation in Southeast Asia with respect to e-cigarettes. It examines the e-cigarette markets, the advertising and promotion of e-cigarettes, the reported health impacts of e-cigarette use, and policy responses in the region.

The study examined e-cigarette market data from the Euromonitor Global Market Information Database (GMID) Passport database. It also searched the academic literature, grey literature, and news archives for reports and studies of e-cigarette related diseases or injuries, e-cigarette marketing, and e-cigarette policy responses in Southeast Asia. Websites of online e-cigarettes catering to the region's active e-cigarette markets were also browsed. In 2019, e-cigarettes sold in six Southeast Asian markets had a total market value of USD595 million, which is projected to grow to USD766 million by 2023. E-commercse is a significant and growing sales channel in the region, with most of the popular or featured brands in online shops originating in China,

Southeast Asian youths are targeted with a wide variety of flavours, trendy designs, and point of sale promotions, and several e-cigarette related injuries and diseases have been reported in the region. Policy responses vary considerably between countries, ranging from strict bans to no or partial regulations.

Although Southeast Asia's e-cigarette market is relatively nascent, this is likely to change if transnational companies invest more heavily in the region. Populous countries with weak e-cigarette regulations, notably Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Philippines, are desirable targets for such investment. Regulatory action is needed to prevent e-cigarette use from being entrenched in these societies, especially among young people.

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