Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Pharmaceutical influence on smoking bans, say Indonesian and Virginian protest groups

Indonesia recently agreed to ratify the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, following international pressure.

Not for the first time, a smoking ban is in the offing, but an anti-smoking ban coalition insists that business interests rather than health drive the restrictions. 'Pharmaceutical factories produce drugs needed for the therapy. With big number of smokers, Indonesia is the good market for pharmaceutical companies,' says coalition leader Suroso, who knows that Indonesia has more pressing issues on its plate than increased tobacco regulation. Money has poured in from the Bloomberg Foundation to support the smoking restrictions: acknowledged by NGOs supporting the ban who insist that improving health is the only motivation for the ban.

In faraway Virginia, the Virginia Smokers' Alliance published a list of active grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (major shareholders in Johnson & Johnson), all given to the cause of tobacco control (anything from smoking bans and eliminating smoking in rented housing units to preventing tobacco sponsorship of rodeos).

Everyone knows it, from the Far East to the US. Whatever is said by anyone about health concerns, pharmaceutical interests are big in the restriction of tobacco.

See powerpoint presentation on the science on second-hand smoke from the Virginia Smokers' Alliance, accessible from here.

1 comment:

Belinda said...

Further report from Indonesia: http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/protesters-rail-against-indonesia-smoke-ban/404433