WHO FRAMEWORK

CONVENTION ON
TOBACCO CONTROL
(FCTC) PROPOSALS

A THREAT TO THE LIVELIHOOD OF
TOBACCO FARMERS IN INDIA

110019 Phone: 91-11-26231214-16 E-mail: tii@tiionline.org | Website: www. 2016 Published by The Tobacco Institute of India 316-318. India from November 7 to 12. New Delhi . International Trade Tower Nehru Place.tiionline. 3rd Floor. E-Block.org CIN: U16003DL1992 NPL085954 August 2016 .Issued by The Tobacco Institute of India in the context of the WHO FCTC Conference of Parties (COP7) being held in Greater Noida.

WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Proposals A Threat to the Livelihood of Tobacco Farmers in India Summary of Key Points What is FCTC? 1 FCTC Requires Parties to Pass Their Own Laws Considering Domestic Environment and Priorities 2 Anti-Tobacco Activists Using FCTC as A Tool to Serve Vested Interests 3 FCTC Discussions Are Exclusionary and Non-Transparent 4 COP7 Bears Serious Implications for India due to Tobacco’s Huge Socio-Economic Significance 5 Denial of Access for Consultation and Interaction with Policy Makers is Undemocratic 7 Excessive Cigarette Taxation will Further Fuel Growth of Illegal Trade 8 Tobacco Product Content Regulation & Disclosure are Impractical and will Devastate Livelihood of Tobacco Growers 9 India’s Unique Supply Chain Renders Illicit Trade Protocol Impractical and Unfeasible 10 Crop Diversification will have Adverse Socio-Economic Impact on Indian Farmers 11 .

Cuba.WHO FCTC Proposals A Threat to the Livelihood of Tobacco Farmers in India What is FCTC? The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is the first international treaty negotiated under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO). USA. So far 180 countries have ratified the FCTC and are now Parties to the treaty. 1 . The treaty consists of 38 Articles the implementation of which is recommended through Guidelines adopted at the Conference of Parties . 2003 and it entered into force on February 27. Malawi. The objective of the FCTC is to provide a framework for tobacco control measures for implementation at the National. Regional and Global levels. are not party to the treaty. Many tobacco growing countries such as Indonesia. Argentina.a bi-annual meeting of the FCTC signatory countries. 2005. th The FCTC was adopted at the 56 World Health Assembly on May 21. Mozambique etc. India was one of the earliest signatories to th the FCTC and also the 8 country to th have ratified it on 5 February 2004.

India’s tobacco regulations should be specifically adapted to the conditions prevailing in the country so that they do not jeopardize the livelihood of millions who are engaged in the tobacco industry. 2003 (COTPA). Policy Makers should not be influenced by the false propaganda of anti-tobacco NGOs. 2 . anti-tobacco NGOs are misusing FCTC to propagate unreasonable policies. Supply and Distribution) Act. Regulatory framework in India should be consistent with COTPA.WHO FCTC Proposals A Threat to the Livelihood of Tobacco Farmers in India FCTC Requires Parties to Pass Their Own Laws Considering Domestic Environment and Priorities India has a comprehensive law namely the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce. Tobacco Control measures in India are implemented under COTPA. Production. Anti-tobacco NGOs are citing FCTC in litigations to pressurise Indian Policy Makers. Despite Indian having a comprehensive tobacco control law.

3 . and international trade. The Indian Government should not get swayed by the propaganda of the international NGOs seeking unreasonable regulations and should instead adopt a balanced approach towards tobacco control regulations. have very tangible real life implications for the entire Tobacco Industry value chain. Certain FCTC measures are a direct threat to millions of tobacco farmers and others dependent on tobacco for their livelihood. FCTC recommendations on diverse issues such as agricultural practices. Vested interests are funding the NGOs and activists who lack real world knowledge of tobacco growing and promote arbitrary measures that have adverse social and economic consequences. including farmers and farm workers.WHO FCTC Proposals A Threat to the Livelihood of Tobacco Farmers in India Anti-Tobacco Activists Using FCTC as A Tool to Serve Vested Interests Excessive and unreasonable FCTC proposals are being driven by NGOs and anti-tobacco activists at the behest of vested interests. It is vital that tobacco experts and relevant bodies with the requisite technical knowledge participate in FCTC discussions in order to ensure that policy framework is unbiased and devoid of any vested interest. taxation.

the public and tobacco growers explicitly excluded from the deliberations. The Seventh Conference of Parties (COP7) of the FCTC is being held in India from November 7 to 12. 2016. 4 . balanced and pragmatic tobacco control initiatives. should be transparent and participative allowing everyone to contribute to deliberations. with media. Several proposals that have direct bearing on the livelihood of farmers and the industry will be discussed and finalized at the COP7.WHO FCTC Proposals A Threat to the Livelihood of Tobacco Farmers in India FCTC Discussions Are Exclusionary and Non-Transparent The FCTC process has become increasingly opaque and decisions are made behind closed doors. India should ensure that COP7 follows the country’s high democratic ideals which favour openness and dialogue. The interests of tobacco growers and other stakeholders are not considered in the discussions at forums such as the bi-annual Conference of Parties (COP). The Conference. Being the host country. Participation of tobacco growers and other stakeholders in COP7 would ensure adoption of evidence-based. unlike the past COP meetings. Denial of COP7 access to the tobacco industry stands contrary to the principle of transparency which is a must in any public policy-making process and raises serious questions on the workings of the global health body.

farm labour. Tobacco is an important cash crop in India generating huge socio-economic benefits.7 million people in India including farmers.000 crore and earns Rs. Indian Policy Makers should be mindful of the enormous socio-economic benefits that accrue from tobacco and the huge livelihood dependency on the crop while deliberating upon various regulatory measures at COP7. 6. women. Tobacco is a highly remunerative crop with no economically viable alternative crop. Tobacco provides livelihood to 45.000 crore as foreign exchange through exports.WHO FCTC Proposals A Threat to the Livelihood of Tobacco Farmers in India COP7 Bears Serious Implications for India due to Tobacco’s Huge Socio-Economic Significance nd India is the world’s 2 largest producer of tobacco after China and a large exporter of tobacco. rural poor. Tobacco has strong linkages with India’s agricultural sector generating huge employment in agriculture alone. 5 . Tobacco provides substantially higher returns than other crops grown in similar agro-climatic conditions. tribals etc. 30. Tobacco makes large contribution to the National Exchequer in the form of annual tax revenue of more than Rs.

WHO FCTC Proposals A Threat to the Livelihood of Tobacco Farmers in India Key FCTC Initiatives that Pose a Serious Challenge to Farmers and Other Stakeholders Denial of access for consultation and interaction with Policy Makers Article 5.3 Excessively high taxation on legal tobacco products Article 6 Regulation &disclosure of tobacco product contents Articles 9&10 Adoption of Illicit Trade Protocol seeking track & trace mechanism for tobacco product supply chain Article 15 Forcing farmers away from tobacco cultivation without there being any feasible alternative crop Article 17 6 .

Democratic Governments should consider the views of all citizens. The Indian Government must not adopt Article 5. workers and others dependent on tobacco for livelihood will be decided by anti-tobacco activists who have access in policy-making process. Fate of millions of farmers.WHO FCTC Proposals A Threat to the Livelihood of Tobacco Farmers in India Denial of Access for Consultation and Interaction with Policy Makers is Undemocratic FCTC Article 5. undemocratic and abhorrent to the Constitution of India.3 recommendations in the interest of Transparency and democratic rights of citizens enshrined in the Indian Constitution. Once such a measure is adopted. including the stakeholders who would be directly affected by a proposed law. tobacco growers and people dependent on tobacco for their livelihood will have no avenue to oppose policy measures threatening their livelihood. 7 . Any attempt to deprive a group of citizens of the right to make representations and to participate in the policy-making process would be inherently unfair. This measure would set a precedent for legislatively preventing the legal industry and other stakeholders from voicing their concern on extreme policies that are driven by vested interest.3 recommendations are designed to keep the Tobacco Industry and other stakeholders out of any consultation with the Government.

lower-taxed tobacco products.000 crore to the Government Tax increases on cigarettes only aggravate the situation by promoting the growth of illegal cigarettes in India. 9. India’s cigarette taxation should be as per the consumers’ capacity to pay and should not incentivize smuggling or substitution to cheaper. This large unorganized tobacco segment will expand at the cost of tax compliant legal segment. Cigarettes are already burdened with high and discriminatory taxation in India resulting in: Declining legal cigarette share in total tobacco consumption from 21% in 1981-82 to 11% currently Rising overall tobacco consumption defeating Government’s tobacco control objectives Falling demand for locally-grown Cigarette tobaccos sharply hitting farmers’ incomes Growing Illegal Cigarette Trade causing a huge revenue loss of Rs. The bulk of tobacco consumed (68%) in India is largely produced in the unorganized sector which does not pay taxes due to exemptions or evasion.WHO FCTC Proposals A Threat to the Livelihood of Tobacco Farmers in India Excessive Cigarette Taxation will Further Fuel Growth of Illegal Trade Article 6 seeks to impose excessively high taxes on tobacco products. 8 .

There is no evidence. encourage cessation or reduce consumption. India should ensure that unreasonable and impractical proposals under Articles 9 & 10 are not adopted by the COP7 as they will cause devastating impact on tobacco farmers and the Indian economy. Foreign exchange outflow Policies should focus on bringing the large unorganized sector. 9 . to suggest that a ban on ingredients/additives would reduce initiation. Ban on ingredients/additives would render at least 30% of tobacco produced in India unusable forcing product manufacturers to import expensive tobacco. scientific or otherwise. Tobacco is an agricultural crop and has its own variations making it imperative to use additives to ensure processability and manufacturability. increased imports. Import of tobaccos from foreign countries will result in: Crash in domestic tobacco prices Loss of livelihood and severe impact on farmer incomes Reduced exports. measuring and regulation of contents and emissions of tobacco products. constituting 68% of tobacco consumption within the purview of regulations.WHO FCTC Proposals A Threat to the Livelihood of Tobacco Farmers in India Tobacco Product Content Regulation & Disclosure are Impractical and will Devastate Livelihood of Tobacco Growers Proposals under Articles 9&10 require testing.

are sold unpackaged and escape tax and regulatory oversight. India has a unique pattern of tobacco consumption with legal cigarettes comprising a mere 11% of total tobacco consumption. India has a diverse. khaini. fragmented and dispersed nature of the Tobacco Trade and Supply Chain making Protocol implementation meaningless without ensuring that all forms of tobacco products are packaged and regulated. 10 . It requires establishment of track and trace system throughout the tobacco supply chain. hookah etc. 68% of tobacco consumption in the form of products like bidis. There are millions of small retailers in India very often in inaccessible areas of towns and remote corners of rural India. incentivize illegal operators and promote anti-social criminal elements. hookah etc. Protocol implementation will only boost unorganized trade. In the absence of uniform regulatory oversight on all tobacco products in India. chillum. The balance tobacco consumption is in varied forms such as bidis. zarda.WHO FCTC Proposals A Threat to the Livelihood of Tobacco Farmers in India India’s Unique Supply Chain Renders Illicit Trade Protocol Impractical and Unfeasible The Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products builds on Article 15 of the FCTC. India should not ratify the WHO Protocol on Illicit Trade and instead make policy interventions to bring the entire tobacco product supply chain under uniform regulatory oversight. khaini. zarda. chillum.

So far there is no viable alternative to tobacco crop. Crop substitution would put India to great disadvantage by: Incentivizing other countries to increase their production of leaf tobacco Losing advantageous position in production/exports with overall global tobacco production remaining unaffected Causing shortages in the domestic market creating need for imports Over-regulation and interference with market forces will encourage illegal tobacco growing. Policies should not benefit other tobacco producing countries at the cost of Indian farmers. In keeping with the Guiding Principles of the FCTC to support developing countries & economies in transition. India should protect the interests of tobacco growers whose livelihood is affected. farm workers and their families. Contrary to the WHO’s assertions.WHO FCTC Proposals A Threat to the Livelihood of Tobacco Farmers in India Crop Diversification will have Adverse Socio-Economic Impact on Indian Farmers Implementation of Article 17 requires Governments to shift tobacco farmers to alternative crops and discontinue support structure for tobacco growing. 11 . tobacco has not displaced any food crop in India. Substituting tobacco with alternative crops will severely impact India’s tobacco export performance and the livelihood of millions of farmers. Crop substitution for a remunerative crop like tobacco will require a planned and systematic approach.

TII has always supported evidence-based.THE TOBACCO INSTITUTE OF INDIA The Tobacco Institute of India (TII) is a representative body of farmers. exporters and ancillaries of the cigarettes' segment of the tobacco industry in India. manufacturers. Parliamentary Committees. The Institute is recognized as a repository of reliable information on the industry and is privileged to be consulted by Government. reasonable and implementable regulation and recognises the need to create greater awareness regarding tobacco consumption in India. As an organization. equitable. Chambers of Commerce/Trade Associations and Media for information and policy recommendations on Tobacco issues. .

E-Block. International Trade Tower Nehru Place. 3rd Floor.tiionline.The Tobacco Institute of India 316-318.org CIN: U16003DL1992 NPL085954 . New Delhi .org | Website: www.110019 Phone: 91-11-26231214-16 | E-mail: tii@tiionline.