Public health officials from all around the world decided to restrict or ban flavor additives which make tobacco products more attractive to new smokers, especially to youngsters.
The representatives from 172 countries that have signed on to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control also assented to recommend that tobacco manufacturers divulge ingredients they use to health authorities.
The tobacco producers opposed these guidelines, stating that millions of people would loss their jobs and economies would be broken in case countries implement them.
“There were many protests against these guidelines. But I think that this is a significant achievement because countries have showed unity and that public health is more important than some industry interests. In case this guidelines will be adopted, it could bring to a particular decline of new smokers,” stated, spokesman Tarik Jasarevic.
Working out special guidelines for how governments have to regulate aromatic and flavor additives which make harsh cigarettes more pleasant to smoke has been a main goal since this treaty took effect five years ago.
United States has already signed this convention and it is among many countries which supervise these additives.
“Australia, Canada and France also control the additives. It may be done differently, either making a list of ingredients that are prohibited or ask that tobacco manufacturers get a license for any new additive,” Jasarevic stated.
Chocolate, mint and strawberry flavors are among hundreds of ingredients which are added to tobacco products.
“All that is added in food is also added in tobacco, there are so many additives and chemicals that making a fixed list would be quite difficult or even impossible,” said, Antoon Opperhuizen, a Dutch toxicologist.
The 172 countries agreed to:
• Support Uruguay in its defense against Philip Morris International, the largest tobacco manufacturer, which states that country has infringed a commercial agreement by demanding graphic warning on 80 % of cigarette packages. In case World Bank arbitrators accede, Uruguay might be forced to pay Philip Morris millions of dollars.
• Creating a working group in order to establish regulations on levying tobacco products in ways that could lessen tobacco use and assure continued funding for the tobacco control convention.
• Advice that smoking cessation programs should be paid by national health systems and that governments should assure qualified experts to help people quick their bad habit.
Other important goals were not discussed during the convention, such as regulations for supporting tobacco farmers to switch to other crops.
The International Tobacco Growers Association states that this treaty endangers the livelihood of 20 million tobacco growers around the world.