People have died from tobacco-related diseases since the opening of the first FCTC working group on 28 October 1999.
- October 25, 2010
It appears that Framework Convention Alliance's (FCA) advocacy on behalf of draft guidelines to control the tobacco flavourings that make cigarettes more palatable, including to potential young smokers, has got under the skin of an organisation with links to the tobacco industry.
The guidelines on Articles 9/10 of the global tobacco treaty, the FCTC, will be discussed by the Conference of the Parties in Uruguay in November. The guidelines suggest that countries “restrict or prohibit” tobacco flavourings because of their attraction for potential smokers. But the International Tobacco Growers Association (ITGA), which says it represents “millions” of farmers, has mounted a campaign characterising the guidelines as an attempt to ban various types of tobacco, particularly burley. The impact, it says would put millions of farmers out of business.
ITGA’s links to the tobacco industry are outlined in a document by PATH Canada.
FCA has circulated fact sheet and question-answer documents in response to ITGA’s misinformation campaign, which have attracted the attention of the Association. Last week, the ITGA distributed another press release attacking the guidelines, in which it referred specifically to FCA:
“To add salt to the wound, the Framework Convention Alliance (FCA), a well funded group of NGOs, whose sole purpose is to ‘develop and implement the FCTC’, recently labelled tobacco farmers’ pleas as ‘misleading information.’ In a document published on its website, it argues that the guidelines do not ban Burley tobacco, but ignore the fact that without ingredients, demand for Burley would virtually disappear, leaving no economically viable alternative crop for its farmers. The FCA also argue that ingredients make cigarettes more ‘attractive’ but ignore the fact that half the world’s smokers already prefer cigarettes with less ingredients. “We have no issue with the WHO regulating tobacco consumption,” says Abrunhosa. “But they should listen to those who understand the crop and not just those who hate it.”
FCA does understand the purpose of tobacco flavourings, the key points of which are below. And we will continue advocating for the adoption of Art 9/10 guidelines at COP-4.
- Flavourings and other additives are widely used in cigarettes and other tobacco products to increase the palatability or attractiveness of tobacco smoke, particularly for young people.
- Although the tobacco industry may wish to have the unregulated freedom to use chocolate, fruit, sugar, candy, ice cream and other flavourings to improve product attractiveness, what the tobacco industry wants is incompatible with public health.
- The more attractive tobacco products are, the more people will become addicted and, ultimately, the more will die from tobacco-caused disease.
- Contrary to industry claims, guidelines do not recommend a ban on burley tobacco, which is grown worldwide and often flavoured during production. Cigarettes containing burley continue to be sold in countries with strong restrictions on flavourings.
The International Tobacco Growers’ Association uncovered: unravelling the spin – the truth behind the claims. PDF report produced by PATH Canada.