Anti-tobacco conference: China, India, others may be barred

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By Yinka Ajayi

To avert compromised outcome, countries owning tobacco entities may be barred from participating in the 2016 anti-tobacco conference scheduled to hold in New Delhi, India. In a document, organizers called for support for the conference to “ensure the exclusion of representatives and officials from fully or partially state-owned tobacco industries, including state tobacco monopolies.”

The conference, which functions as an international parliament on tobacco control, is slated to hold November 7-12 . It will feature delegates from over 180 nations.

World Health Organization holds a tobacco control conference every two years through a sub-agency called the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

According to statistics at the FCTC, governments are responsible for over 40% of the world’s tobacco production, while many nations maintain tobacco research centres and fund promotional agencies to support tobacco exports.

China, Cuba, Egypt, Bulgaria, Thailand and the convention’s host country, India, for the conference may have a hard time having delegates approved to attend the event and vote on issues that impact their citizens.

FTCT justifies the possible exclusion of countries who pay dues toward the event because representatives from tobacco-producing countries “may have prevented public health interests from prevailing in the policy discussions” at previous conferences.

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