Cigarette manufacturers’ lobby Tobacco Institute India (TII) on Monday condemned the move to keep away industry stakeholders and tobacco farmers from the WHO global conference on tobacco control. TII said participation of stakeholders at the Conference of Parties (COP7) of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is essential to ensure farmer and industry viewpoint on various issues arising out of the COP7 Agenda is considered and no “unilateral and discriminatory one-sided decision is taken” at the crucial conference.
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“It is unfortunate that the industry stakeholders and tobacco farmers whose livelihood will be affected by the decisions at this conference have not been allowed to participate in the conference,” TII said in a statement. India is hosting the conference for the first time, which is being held at Greater Noida.
The lobby group alleged that anti-tobacco NGOs funded by vested interests are “putting pressure on the policymakers to pursue an agenda guided by false propaganda”. “These anti-tobacco NGOs are also approaching courts and seeking extreme and unreasonable regulations which threaten the livelihood of millions of Indians dependent on tobacco in the garb of implementation of FCTC measures,” it added.
It is disappointing that WHO and the Indian government did not respond to the pleas of the industry stakeholders and tobacco farming community seeking participation in the COP7 meeting, TII said.
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