Dear Ms Bungon Ritthiphakdee,
We read your open letter to Dr. Gary Johns and ITIC. We want to express our full support to you and to the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance.
We know perfectly, here in France and Europe, that ITIC’s Board of directors includes representatives from British American Tobacco, Philip Morris International, Japan Tobacco International and Imperial Tobacco. We are fully aware that those big four are sponsors of ITIC.
So, we are not surprised at all of its action to undermine efficient public policies on tobacco control, in your Southeast Asian region and elsewhere in the world. Moreover, we are not surprised that its action focuses on illicit trade and tobacco taxation.
In fact, tobacco taxation is the most effective way to reduce smoking prevalence. Without tax increase tobacco policy, the other measures of tobacco control are weakened. It is really well documented that increasing strongly and regularly taxes on tobacco products reduce tobacco consumption, especially among the young and the poor people for whom affordability is key, and generate income for government budgets. Furthermore, it is urgent to dismantle some against-truths dealt out by tobacco industry, like the supposedly postponing consumption on an illegal market which would then expanding. On this important topic, the WHO Illicit Trade Protocol introduces comprehensive set of measures ranging from control supply chain, strengthening penalties and technical and legal cooperation.
SEATCA makes a tremendous effort to support scientific-based and best practices in those two essential fields for tobacco control, that’s why your organization was targeted by ITIC, that’s why French Tobacco control community is supporting SEATCA.
President of DNF
Secretary General of French Alliance against Tobacco