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  • ITGA: 79 Developing Countries Say No to World Health Organisation’s Guidelines

    Published on November 15, 2010

    Portugal: The International Tobacco Growers’ Association (ITGA) applauds the decision by the Council of Ministers of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), to oppose the approval of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidelines – for a ban on ingredients used in tobacco products – at its 4th Conference of the Parties (COP) in Uruguay next week (1).

    The latest WHO guidelines for articles 9 and 10 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) would virtually eliminate blended cigarettes, which require ingredients, and account for half of global consumption. The knock-on effect would be a drastic reduction in demand for burley and oriental tobacco used to make these products. The ban is being proposed despite WHO acknowledgments that products without ingredients are just as harmful as those with.

    The ACP is the most recent organization to question the WHO’s approach and follows calls by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the African Union (AU) to reject or put back these decisions on the grounds that they could cause major economic and social devastation to developing countries.

    Commenting on the ACP’s decision, Antonio Abrunhosa, Chief Executive of the ITGA, representing 30 million tobacco growers, said, “The ACP has recognized that these WHO guidelines should not be adopted. Their message to the WHO is very clear; impacted stakeholders must be properly consulted before decisions are taken.”

    The WHO has controversially decided to exclude tobacco farmers from all discussions around the development of FCTC guidelines, dismissing them as “interferences”.

    The ITGA calls on every country representative attending the Conference of the Parties in Uruguay to fully understand the impact of adopting articles 9 and 10 of the FCTC. “These guidelines will destroy the livelihoods of millions of some of the poorest people in the world for no health benefit,” concludes Abrunhosa.

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