US Cigarette Producers Ignite Antismoking Crusade in Thailand

Article excerpt

TWO American exports, cigarettes and antismoking fervor,ndered to United States pressure in an 18-month-old trade feud and agreed to lift a ban on US cigarettes. Thailand's decision was focountry could not exclude foreign brands.

Yet, in prying open the Thai smoking market, US cigarette producers have ignited an alea of US producers. And the dispute, which drew in the American antismoking lobby, has helped prod the Thai government into a campaalth movement in Thailand," says a Western diplomat.

"There was a loss and a gain. The loss was the market access. The gain wns in Asia. "Antismoking now has a national prominence it never had."

Thailand is the latest front in a growing war against to promote free trade over health. Tobacco companies aggressively pursue new markets abroad to offset lagging demand at home.

Socigarette consumption in the US has declined continuously because of higher prices and taxes, spreading smoking restrictions and heamuscle has pried open markets in Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea in recent years.

Thailand is the latest salvo. The country of 5 and cigarettes are a frequent offering at temples.

The cigarette companies see Thailand as a prime target because, compared wid in 1986.

In this developing agricultural country, disposable incomes are low, and, in villages and the countryside, many peopwhich cost double the price of Thai cigarettes, observers say.

With an estimated 5 percent of Thailand's market of 90 million pcent of Thai women do. …

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