Author: Mary Assunta
Objective: To illustrate how the tobacco industry’ front group, the International Tobacco Growers Association (ITGA), mobilised tobacco farmers to influence the fourth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP4) negotiations and defeat the adoption of Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Articles 9 and 10 Guidelines and Articles 17 and 18 progress report.
Methods: A review of COP4 documents on Articles 9, 10, 17 and 18 was triangulated with relevant information from tobacco industry reports, websites of British American Tobacco, Philip Morris International and ITGA, presentations by tobacco industry executives and internal industry documents from the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library website.
Results: Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco rejected Articles 9 and 10 draft Guidelines claiming that banning ingredients in cigarettes will render burley leaf less commercially viable making tobacco growers in many countries suffer economic consequences. They claimed the terms ‘attractiveness’ and ‘palatability’ are not appropriate regulatory standards. The ITGA launched a global campaign to mobilise farmers to reject the draft Guidelines at COP4 in Uruguay. Tobacco producers, Brazil, Philippines, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe, sent large delegations to COP4 and participated actively in the negotiation on the draft Guidelines. Partial Guidelines on Articles 9 and 10 on product regulation and disclosure were adopted. COP4’s work on Article 17 provides guidance on viable alternatives, but the ITGA is opposed to this and continues fight crop substitution.
Conclusion: Despite ITGA’s international campaign to thwart the Guidelines on Articles 9 and 10 and a strong representation from tobacco-growing countries at COP4, the outcome after intense negotiations was the adoption of Partial Guidelines and work on Articles 17 and 18 to proceed.
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