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Tobacco Industry Monitor

Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance

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Updated in August 2020


Factasia.org is a Hong Kong-based independent consumer advocacy group working across the Asia-Pacific region. The organization states on its website that it does not speak for or represent the tobacco industry;[1] instead, its mission is to promote consumer voices in Asia. On the other hand, factasia.org is known to promote industry-proposed and industry-led regulations for electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and heated tobacco products (HTPs) in Asia.[2],[3]  

Relationship with Tobacco Industry

Despite the organization’s claims that they do not represent the tobacco industry, their supporters include transnational tobacco company Philip Morris International and international pro-ENDS/HTPs group the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association (TVECA).[4] A long-time tobacco industry representative, Heneage Mitchell, is one of the founders of Factasia.org.

In 2020, Heneage commented on the Change.org campaign titled “WHO should take [Tobacco Harm Reduction] as a Tobacco Control strategy to achieve smokefree,”[5] stating that “WHO needs to follow its mandate and respect the science, stop lying and distorting evidence and accept tobacco harm reduction is an inalienable human right enshrined in its own charter.”[6] Heneage has connections with pro-ENDS/HTPs individuals and groups across the world; he communicates regularly with them to promote ENDS/HTPs via his social media channels, such as Twitter.[7]

Other activities

Factasia.org regularly launches campaigns to promote ENDS/HTPs, using consumer rights and human rights as their claim in support of the products. In 2013, factasia.org lobbied for smokers’ rights.[8] In 2017, factasia.org submitted the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee: Vaporised Nicotine Products Bill 2017 to the government of Australia, to promote the claim that ENDS/HTPs can support smoking cessation.[9] Besides the Australian government, factasia.org also proposes policy recommendations to governments across the Asia-Pacific for regulating ENDS/HTPs, with strong opposition to comprehensive bans of ENDS/HTPs.[10]    

[1] Factasia.org, our supporters, [online] At https://www.factasia.org/our-supporters/
[2] Tobacco Tactics, Think Tanks, [online] At https://tobaccotactics.org/wiki/Think-Tanks/
[3] Stopping Tobacco Organizations & Products, Third Party: Factasia, [online] At https://exposetobacco.org/tobacco-allies/factasia/
[4] Factasia.org, our supporters, [online] At https://www.factasia.org/our-supporters/
[5] Change.org, WHO should take [Tobacco Harm Reduction] as a Tobacco Control strategy to achieve smokefree, [online] At https://www.change.org/p/who-who-should-take-tobacco-harm-reduction-as-a-tobacco-control-strategy-to-achieve-smokefree
[6] https://www.change.org/p/who-who-should-take-tobacco-harm-reduction-as-a-tobacco-control-strategy-to-achieve-smokefree/c/785516142
[7] https://twitter.com/HeneageM/status/1273348224695205889
[8] Tobaccoreporter, factasia.org to lobby for smokers’ rights, [online] At https://tobaccoreporter.com/2013/11/25/factasia-org-to-lobby-for-smokers-rights/
[9] Factasia.org, Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee: Vaporised Nicotine Products Bill 2017  [online] At https://www.aph.gov.au/DocumentStore.ashx?id=ef6320ca-5472-46a7-b53e-dccdc5ddcce2&subId=514677
[10] Factasia.org. Still blowing smoke in Asia: the region’s failure to embrace tobacco harm reduction efforts continue, [online] At https://www.factasia.org/still-blowing-smoke-in-asia-the-regions-failure-to-accept-tobacco-harm-reduction-efforts/