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Published On: Mon, Sep 22nd, 2014

Successful tobacco treaty talks will save 200 million lives – NATT

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From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos

The Network for Accountability of Tobacco Transnationals (NATT) yesterday said if key provisions of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to be discussed at the sixth session of the Conference of Parties meeting in Moscow are adopted about 200 million lives will be saved by year 2050.

NATT Nigeria spokesman Philip Jakpor, said this in Lagos during a training on Domestication of FCTC and COP6 organized by NATT ally -the Environmental Rights Action,ERA.

He alerted the public on subtle and brazen attempts by the tobacco industry to derail the upcoming talks.

Delegates to the COP 6 will attempt to reach conclusions on Article 19 of the FCTC which is seen as a tool to hold tobacco companies liable for the harms caused by their products. Delegates will also deliberate on a new public badge policy which will keep out tobacco industry agents from infiltration of the talks.

Jakpor explained that in the past COPs NATT was able to expose tobacco industry agents in the treaty meetings who sneaked into the venues using a public badge, even as he explained that the new policy would permanently shut the tobacco industry out of the talks.

He revealed other tactics that the tobacco industry has used to water down or out rightly halt the implementation of the FCTC. They include making gifts to governments to gain favour, offering to partner with governments, voluntary self regulation and promotion of front groups to discredit the treaty talks.

One of such groups that he urged journalists to isolate and expose is the International Tobacco Growers Association (ITGA) which is funded by transnationals like British America Tobacco (BAT) and Philip Morris, among others.

ITGA has recently been organizing visibility events across Africa to discredit the treaty talks with the aim of stifling plans to introduce farmers to alternatives to tobacco farming.

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