JAKARTA, Indonesia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Representatives of over 4 million tobacco growers across Asia called on governments to reject recent recommendations by the World Health Organization (WHO) to ban tobacco ingredients. The representatives signed a declaration at the close of the inaugural Asia Tobacco Forum, hosted by the International Tobacco Growers’ Association (ITGA) and Aliansi Masyarakat Tembakau Indonesia (AMTI) in Jakarta, Indonesia. The two-day meeting was attended by growers from India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.
“We urge all governments to reject the proposal to ban tobacco ingredients and to investigate other alternatives that can achieve public health goals while also protecting the millions of jobs that are dependent on tobacco growing,” said Roger Quarles, President of ITGA.
The declaration lists 12 recommendations, including participants’ opposition to an arbitrary ban on tobacco ingredients and a call for governments to reject the current proposal and to develop a more balanced approach to tobacco control. Participants also urged Asian governments to work alongside other governments to do their utmost to protect the tobacco growing sector and improve transparency and consultation within the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
“The tobacco growing sector has been excluded from discussions and marginalized by this proposed ban. This discrimination is not justifiable and will destroy the livelihoods of tobacco farmers and their families. Some of these agricultural communities are already among the poorest in the country. No other crop currently exists that can provide similar economic benefits to those communities,” said Mr. Soedaryanto, Chairman of AMTI.
Growers from these Asian countries plan to present the recommendations of the Forum to the relevant ministries of agriculture, finance, trade and health in their home countries.
About WHO Proposal
FCTC is the first treaty negotiated under the auspices of the WHO. Article 9 of the FCTC aims to regulate the contents of tobacco products, i.e., the testing and measuring of tobacco contents and emissions. Article 10 of the FCTC aims at regulating tobacco product disclosures, i.e. disclosure of contents and emissions of tobacco products. A working group has been established to develop detailed guidelines on Articles 9 and 10 for countries to follow when implementing national legislation. The latest version of the draft guidelines on Articles 9 and 10 recommends a ban on use of ingredients in tobacco products. It is planned that signatories to the FCTC will discuss and vote on the Articles 9 and 10 draft guidelines at the Conference of the Parties 4 meeting in Uruguay in November 2010.
Traditional blended cigarettes, one of the two main types of cigarettes, are made with a combination of Burley, Virginia and Oriental tobaccos, with added ingredients to help marry the blend of tobaccos. If governments ban the use of ingredients in tobacco products this would effectively ban traditional blended cigarettes, significantly disrupting the tobacco leaf market. Traditional blended cigarettes represent almost half of the cigarettes sold worldwide.
About Asia Tobacco Forum
Hosted by ITGA and AMTI, the inaugural Asia Tobacco Forum attracted growers from India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. More than 50 million jobs in these countries are linked to the tobacco industry, including growers, retailers, industry suppliers and manufacturers, generating tobacco tax revenue of an estimated US$16 billion in 2009.
AMTI is an independent organization established on January 25, 2010, and founded by FSP RTMM-SPSI (Cigarette Labor Union), APTI (Tobacco Farmers Association), APCI (Clove Farmers Association), Gaprindo (White Cigarette Manufacturers), HKTI (Farmers Association), Pemuda Tani Indonesia-HKTI (Youth Farmers Association), and PT HM Sampoerna Tbk. The main objective of AMTI is to provide a forum for tobacco and clove farmers, workers, consumers, retailers, associations, and manufacturers of cigarettes in order to preserve the quality of Indonesian tobacco industry.
The ITGA is a non-profit organization founded in 1984 with the objective of presenting the cause of millions of tobacco farmers to the world. ITGA strives to provide a strong collective voice on an international and national scale in order to ensure the long-term security of tobacco markets.