Tobacco Reporter, an industry magazine, recently ran an article, (Snail Mail, Jan 2016) taking pot shots at the World Health Organization and the FCTC Conference of the Parties, only to incriminate itself. The article makes several ludicrous accusations against WHO and the COP, which we quote below, and provide our response:
TR: “Most of the besuited classes that turn up at COP7 will have few insights into the lives of the financially impoverished people who tend to make up the world’s smokers.”
> Yes the tobacco industry has been making billions in profits from selling cigarettes to financially impoverished people all over the world.
TR: “People who turn up at COP7 will almost be well-fed and cossetted”
> Not as well fed and cossetted as the tobacco industry executives. Government officials make up the bulk of the delegates to the COP and it seems the industry has no qualms insulting them.
TR: “Wonder whether these smokers really want to trade in what is possibly one of thefew enjoyments they have for the few extra years of poverty and struggle,”
> Most smokers want to quit. No enjoyment because it leads to disease and painful death for 6 million.
TR: “There are far too many people demonizing smokers…”
> Smokers are victims of an addictive product. The tobacco industry is acting like a demon in continuing to sell a product that has addicted 1.2 billion people which causes disease and death to 6 million yearly.
TR: “And making decisions about cigarette smoking without understanding it.”
> No misunderstanding – cigarettes are addictive and the smoke contains 7,000 chemical compounds, many of which are carcinogenic. It is scandalous that the tobacco industry refuses to recall the product.
TR: “People choose to smoke”
> Smoking is an addiction. Most smokers want to quit but find it hard – the addiction is potent.
TR: “WHO can find it in its heart the humanity to allow the disposed of this world a few minutes of relaxation …“
> WHO is fulfilling its responsibility to support 180 governments’ FCTC obligation to reduce tobacco use and reverse the smoking epidemic to save lives. An industry that continues to peddle a product that kills has indeed lost its humanity.
Shame on the tobacco industry for exploiting the poor and taking pot shots at WHO and the COP.
For information on TI denormalization, check out SEATCA’s Tobacco Industry Watchwebsite.
Previous ASEAN Tobacco Watch updates can be found here.