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Premier short on information on the Tobacco factory products

Confident that questions in the Legislative Assembly this week, regarding the requirement for an Environmental Impact Assessment were answered in the negative with the contrary statement that none was required, Premier Meade refused to provide information as to where tobacco when manufactured would be shipped from Montserrat.

The Government is bound under Article 12 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to which Montserrat is party signed on by Her Majesty’s Government. They are to provide under that treaty, “public awareness of and access to information regarding the adverse health, economic, and environmental consequences of tobacco production and consumption.”

Our information is, that the questions were aimed at ensuring that Montserrat was not participating in an already enormous illicit cigarette trade. At the first 2013 sitting of the Legislative Assembly on January 22, leader of the opposition Donaldson Romeo put the question to the Premier, “Would you kindly explain what kind of cigarettes are to be exported by Montobacco?”  The Premier before answering said the question he received included, “…and to where?” His response: “The cigarettes are made of tobacco and not marijuana or some other illegal ingredients. Where and to whom they sell is not government’s concern, provided that the international trade regulations are complied with.”

The WHO treaty refered to above also says: “Each Party shall, in accordance with its national law, adopt and implement effective legislative, executive, administrative or other measures requiring manufacturers and importers of tobacco products to disclose to governmental authorities information about the contents and emissions of tobacco products. Each Party shall further adopt and implement effective measures for public disclosure of information about the toxic constituents of the tobacco products and the emissions that they may produce.”

In response to an earlier unconnected question, the Premier boasted, about the economic value of the factory to Montserrat, while suggesting that the “factory” is not clean, as it provides jobs to a number of people. For this Montabacco receives from Montserrat, tax concessions on import and export of their products, incentives, as well as government providing the factory building for their manufacture. Unconfirmed information suggests that the product/s are to be shipped to Indonesia. This encouraged some research and the following is part of what we discovered.

Child smoking in Indonesia

According to an official spokesman of a special commission set up to protect children’s rights (KPAI) and evolve regulations to prevent children getting addicted to smoking, “The future of 80 million Indonesian children is at stake as the cigarette producers were intentionally aiming children as their future market through massive TV advertisements and sponsorships on activities in which teenagers involved the most.”

More than 30% of Indonesian children reportedly smoke a cigarette before the age of 10.In 2010, a two year old boy from Sumatra, Ardi Rizal, made global headlines for having a 40-a-day cigarette habit.

In 2003, cigarette advertising and promotion in Indonesia was valued at $250 million. It is thus one of the most distinctive tobacco manufacturing hubs in the world. Smoking Kretek is said to be “an ingrained part of Indonesian culture“. An all pervading scent of kretek smoke is distinctly discerned in Indonesia.

Major tobacco companies dominating the market in Indonesia include Gudang Garam, Sampoerna (Philip Morris International), Djarum, Bentoel (British American Tobacco) and Nojorono Tobacco International.[4] The WHO has ranked Indonesia third in the world for total number of smokers

While cigarette smoking is declining throughout the world, in Indonesia the industry is thriving. Manufacturers of Marlborough brand of cigarettes established a Kretek brand manufacturing factory in Indonesia in 2008. For over 50 years, Djarum has been another big brand international manufacturer of Kretek here. It has a research and development unit to improve on the quality of their cigarettes. Malaysia and USA are said to be two of their important markets.

Harmful effects and regulations

Tobacco smoking in Indonesia is said to claim 200,000 lives every year. Even though the country has required “no smoking” signs in health care units, educational institutions and in public transportation system, there is no ban on smoking in government and private offices, restaurants and bars. Tax exemptions in the country provide an incentive to the manufacturers to advertise the sale of cigarettes as compared to other countries in the region, in spite of the World Bank suggesting higher tax rates. As a result, tobacco manufacturers almost run cigarette advertisements for free.

The advertisements, although warning of the ill effects of smoking, do not show any pictures, nor are the warning texts printed at strategic places on the cigarette packets. All these factors, plus its low cost, have contributed to the extensive proliferation of cigarette smoking in the country among people of all ages. So much so, that even a two-year-old child picked up the habit of smoking two packs of cigarettes a day in his fishing village, where every one smokes. It was reported that the child’s father initiated his son into this habit at the age of 18 months.

However, press reports indicate that the child has been placed in rehabilitation by keeping him in a different environment under the care of a psychologist, and as a result the child has given up smoking. The government of Indonesia is now contemplating introducing regulations that would ban the advertising of cigarettes, smoking in public places and selling cigarettes to children.

 

 

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Confident that questions in the Legislative Assembly this week, regarding the requirement for an Environmental Impact Assessment were answered in the negative with the contrary statement that none was required, Premier Meade refused to provide information as to where tobacco when manufactured would be shipped from Montserrat.

The Government is bound under Article 12 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to which Montserrat is party signed on by Her Majesty’s Government. They are to provide under that treaty, “public awareness of and access to information regarding the adverse health, economic, and environmental consequences of tobacco production and consumption.”

Our information is, that the questions were aimed at ensuring that Montserrat was not participating in an already enormous illicit cigarette trade. At the first 2013 sitting of the Legislative Assembly on January 22, leader of the opposition Donaldson Romeo put the question to the Premier, “Would you kindly explain what kind of cigarettes are to be exported by Montobacco?”  The Premier before answering said the question he received included, “…and to where?” His response: “The cigarettes are made of tobacco and not marijuana or some other illegal ingredients. Where and to whom they sell is not government’s concern, provided that the international trade regulations are complied with.”

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The WHO treaty refered to above also says: “Each Party shall, in accordance with its national law, adopt and implement effective legislative, executive, administrative or other measures requiring manufacturers and importers of tobacco products to disclose to governmental authorities information about the contents and emissions of tobacco products. Each Party shall further adopt and implement effective measures for public disclosure of information about the toxic constituents of the tobacco products and the emissions that they may produce.”

In response to an earlier unconnected question, the Premier boasted, about the economic value of the factory to Montserrat, while suggesting that the “factory” is not clean, as it provides jobs to a number of people. For this Montabacco receives from Montserrat, tax concessions on import and export of their products, incentives, as well as government providing the factory building for their manufacture. Unconfirmed information suggests that the product/s are to be shipped to Indonesia. This encouraged some research and the following is part of what we discovered.

Child smoking in Indonesia

According to an official spokesman of a special commission set up to protect children’s rights (KPAI) and evolve regulations to prevent children getting addicted to smoking, “The future of 80 million Indonesian children is at stake as the cigarette producers were intentionally aiming children as their future market through massive TV advertisements and sponsorships on activities in which teenagers involved the most.”

More than 30% of Indonesian children reportedly smoke a cigarette before the age of 10.In 2010, a two year old boy from Sumatra, Ardi Rizal, made global headlines for having a 40-a-day cigarette habit.

In 2003, cigarette advertising and promotion in Indonesia was valued at $250 million. It is thus one of the most distinctive tobacco manufacturing hubs in the world. Smoking Kretek is said to be “an ingrained part of Indonesian culture“. An all pervading scent of kretek smoke is distinctly discerned in Indonesia.

Major tobacco companies dominating the market in Indonesia include Gudang Garam, Sampoerna (Philip Morris International), Djarum, Bentoel (British American Tobacco) and Nojorono Tobacco International.[4] The WHO has ranked Indonesia third in the world for total number of smokers

While cigarette smoking is declining throughout the world, in Indonesia the industry is thriving. Manufacturers of Marlborough brand of cigarettes established a Kretek brand manufacturing factory in Indonesia in 2008. For over 50 years, Djarum has been another big brand international manufacturer of Kretek here. It has a research and development unit to improve on the quality of their cigarettes. Malaysia and USA are said to be two of their important markets.

Harmful effects and regulations

Tobacco smoking in Indonesia is said to claim 200,000 lives every year. Even though the country has required “no smoking” signs in health care units, educational institutions and in public transportation system, there is no ban on smoking in government and private offices, restaurants and bars. Tax exemptions in the country provide an incentive to the manufacturers to advertise the sale of cigarettes as compared to other countries in the region, in spite of the World Bank suggesting higher tax rates. As a result, tobacco manufacturers almost run cigarette advertisements for free.

The advertisements, although warning of the ill effects of smoking, do not show any pictures, nor are the warning texts printed at strategic places on the cigarette packets. All these factors, plus its low cost, have contributed to the extensive proliferation of cigarette smoking in the country among people of all ages. So much so, that even a two-year-old child picked up the habit of smoking two packs of cigarettes a day in his fishing village, where every one smokes. It was reported that the child’s father initiated his son into this habit at the age of 18 months.

However, press reports indicate that the child has been placed in rehabilitation by keeping him in a different environment under the care of a psychologist, and as a result the child has given up smoking. The government of Indonesia is now contemplating introducing regulations that would ban the advertising of cigarettes, smoking in public places and selling cigarettes to children.