June 22, 2010 - Asian tobacco growers are meeting in Indonesia for a two-day summit aimed at formulating a strategy to fight against the adoption of a ban on flavored cigarettes under the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The Indonesian Tobacco Alliance (Amti) and the International Tobacco Growers Association, a US-based nonprofit growers association, on Sunday, June 20th urged the Indonesian government and the governments of neighboring countries not to adopt Articles 9 and 10 of the framework that effectively ban flavored tobacco products.
Burley tobacco growers in the United States sounded the alarm today, May 25th on proposed regulations originating out of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) that could lead to a worldwide ban on blended, American-style cigarettes that contain burley tobacco.Sudaryanto, the chairman of Amti, which organized the meeting, said banning flavored cigarettes could cost Indonesian growers up to $450 million per year and threaten millions of jobs.
Burley growers in the U.S. back in October 2009 had concerns about a Canada flavor-free cigarettes law they felt targeted Kentucky growers.
Article 9 of the FCTC deals with the testing, measuring and regulation of the contents and emissions of tobacco products, and Article 10 with disclosure to governments and the public of such contents and emissions. These are important components of tobacco control policy, but the issues raised by each are complex.
U.S. Burley tobacco growers - WHO FCTC articles elimination of American-style cigarettes..
It comes after a recent recommendation by the World Health Organization (WHO) to ban ingredients such as clove and other flavours in tobacco products. Asian tobacco growers say if the WHO ruling is enforced it could threaten millions of tobacco farmers' jobs.
Indonesia is the world's largest producer of clove cigarettes and is particularly concerned about the move. Tobacco growers from India, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia are taking part in the summit in Jakarta.
It is the first of its kind and members hope that the Asia Tobacco Forum will prove to be an effective lobby group for their goals. Their biggest concern is how to deal with the WHO's recent recommendation to ban flavoured tobacco products.
According to the association of Asian tobacco growers, the ruling could put an estimated 50 million jobs in the region at risk.
In Indonesia, most of the tobacco companies out-source the growing of the plant to small farmers, who depend on the industry for their livelihoods.
Abdus Setiawan, head of the Indonesian Tobacco Farmers' Association, said 93% of the cigarettes made in Indonesia are kretek clove cigarettes. "This will mean a loss of jobs, this will mean a problem with the government's poverty alleviation programmes, because a lot of these farmers are depending only on those products," he said.
In September 2009, the United States banned flavoured cigarettes. According to local reports, that move has cost tobacco growers here almost $300m (£202m) in losses.
Indonesia subsequently filed a formal complaint to the World Trade Organization against the US, saying the ban unfairly targeted Indonesian cigarettes.
Asia tobacco farmers fight flavoured cigarette ban call by Karishma Vaswani
BBC News, Jakarta , 6/21/2010.