Tobacco Institute of India (TII), has asked the government to include the tobacco farmers and industry stakeholders in the official Indian delegation for WHO FCTC Conference of Parties, to enable them to represent their side. TII, which represents leading cigarette manufacturers such as ITC, Godfrey Philips and VST, accounts for more than 98 per cent of the country’s domestic sales of duty paid cigarettes in India.
The WHO FCTC Conference of Parties (COP 7) Meeting is being hosted by India in Noida between 7 to 12 November, 2016. “It is our ardent appeal that the Government of India as the host country should uphold the high democratic principles of the Indian Constitution and facilitate the participation of tobacco farmers and other industry stakeholders in the proceedings of the FCTC,” TII Director Syed Mahmood Ahmad said in a statement.
The industry along with various tobacco farmer’s lobby is opposing the larger pictorial warnings covering 85 per cent of the packaging space, which has come into force from April this year.
“We are concerned that at the behest of vested interests of NGOs and anti-tobacco activists in India through their relentless and biased campaign are influencing government’s tobacco control policy and promoting extreme regulations that are already hurting tobacco farmers and the legal industry in the country and causing widespread growth of illegal trade in cigarettes,” he added.
The Conference of Parties is organised under the aegis of FCTC which is a framework convention under the World Health Organization.