by Rathi Manohar on  June 23, 2010 at 7:54 PM Lifestyle News
Ban on Flavoured Cigarettes Condemned by Asian Tobacco Growers
The ban proposed by the World Health Organization on the use of cloves and other flavours in cigarettes has been opposed by Asian tobacco growers.

The International Tobacco Growers' Association (ITGA) said a ban would cost millions of jobs by eliminating the market for blended cigarettes, which account for about half of global sales.

"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," ITGA president Roger Quarles said at a tobacco conference in Jakarta.

ITGA and the Indonesian Tobacco Community Alliance (AMTI), representing four million growers across Asia, have formed an Asian lobby group to fight the WHO proposals.

AMTI chairman Soedaryanto said that, as the world's biggest producers of clove cigarettes, Indonesian tobacco growers stood to lose most from a ban.

"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," he said.

Indonesia is the only country in Asia not to have ratified the WHO's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which sets policy recommendations and benchmarks for countries concerned about the health impacts of smoking.

Cigarette consumption in the Southeast Asian archipelago of some 240 million people soared 47 percent in the 1990s and about 400,000 Indonesians die every year due to tobacco-related illnesses, according to the WHO.

Indonesia's biggest cigarette manufacturer, PT HM Sampoerna, is an affiliate of Philip Morris International.

The government in Jakarta has failed to regulate the tobacco industry, which pays more than six million dollars a year in excise taxes alone even though cigarette prices remain among the lowest in the world.

Source: AFP

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