Groups refuse tobacco conference

A coalition of civil society for the collective banner MATA urged the government to withdraw its support for World Tobacco Asia conference, scheduled for September 19.

The Coalition of Indonesian Consumer Foundation, residents of Jakarta Forum, the National Commission to mitigate the effects of tobacco, and others, said that the upcoming conference insult to the country.

“The Conference Committee believes Indonesia’s tobacco market is not friendly smoking bans or other restrictions or regulations, as compared to other ASEAN countries. This is an insult of our people, because it means that we support the death, and we urge the government to ban the conference for our dignity, “Tulus Abadi from the YLKI said on Thursday.

World Tobacco Asia, the annual international conference, which offers tobacco, the tobacco industry a forum to showcase their products and services in Indonesia, Asia-Pacific and Australian markets tobacco.

Tulus said at the conference this year, cigarette manufacturers were hoping to reach 8 million of new tobacco users in the Asia-Pacific region, of which 6 million would be from Indonesia. “Indonesia is organizing a conference for the second time, even after MATA protest staged at the conference venue, the Jakarta Convention Center, two years ago,” Tulus said.

Chairman of the MATA Tubagus Haryo Kuntoro said that the organization expects the government to take action this year after his failure to do so two years ago. “The government can not ignore their protest, but we hope that, at least, the event this year, these ministries do not support the conference« Tubagus reporters.

Tubagus said that the group is planning a series of measures, including a protest in front of the presidential palace on August 13 in protest at the conference venue. The data of the Ministry of Health said that in 1995 there were 34 million active smokers in Indonesia. In 2010, this figure more than doubled to 80 million in Indonesia, that members of the NGO coalition against the conference found deeply disturbing.

Talus said that tobacco is not only affected the health of smokers, but also have a negative impact on their finances. “The data of Central Statistical Agency said that cigarettes are the second most important element of the household after the rice among people with lower income bracket in the country. They spend about 12.4 percent of his salary for cigarettes,” said Tulus. “This is their purchasing power, which must be taken from them so that they could use the money to buy something else,” he added.

In addition to oppose the conference, a special group of anti-tobacco activists hoped to force the government to ratify the Framework Convention of the World Health Organization’s Tobacco Control. “FCTC stipulates that the government should charge higher taxes on cigarettes, the order of the tobacco companies to put health warnings on cigarette packages and cigarette ad campaign to reduce the” Tubagus said.

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