In the run-up to the World Health Organization’s World No Tobacco Day on May 31, the International Tobacco Growers Association (ITGA) is calling on the tobacco sector to raise awareness about the reality of tobacco growing to counterbalance the anticipated negative messaging.
“Our sector will once again become subject to unfounded and damaging claims,” the ITGA writes on its website, adding that growers have been unfairly excluded from discussions at the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
“By ignoring tobacco growers’ legitimate concerns, the livelihoods of millions of people are put at stake,” the ITGA writes.
On its website, the organization has crafted retorts to common criticisms of the sector. For example, in response to the frequently aired accusation that tobacco growing is bad for the environment, the ITGA points out that tobacco covers only 0.25 percent of the world’s cultivated land. In response to the claim that tobacco growing is bad for growers’ health, it points out that the only health risk unique to tobacco crops is green tobacco sickness—a condition that is easily avoided with proper attire and training.
The ITGA also addresses criticisms about farmer debt and child labor on its website.