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Southeast Asian smokers face a cloud of new antismoking measures

Governments hike tobacco taxes to mitigate health threats and fund infrastructure

A vendor smokes beside his cigarette stall along a busy street in Manila.   © Reuters

BANGKOK/MANILA/SINGAPORE -- Once a smoker's paradise, Southeast Asia has been turning up the heat on its tobacco-addicted citizens with regulations and taxes to encourage them to kick their habit.

Thailand's National Tobacco Products Control Committee approved new restrictions in November, making it the first country in the region to force manufacturers to use packaging unadorned with logos, colors or stylish fonts regarded as marketing. Brand names will be displayed in small, plain white type against a black background, and the gruesome photos of people ravaged by smoking-related diseases will remain, according to a dummy pack shown by the government.

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