Front Groups

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Indonesia [1]
Indonesia White Cigarette Manufacturer (GAPRINDO) This organisation represents the transnational tobacco corporations such as PMI, BAT and JTI and routinely opposes tobacco control measures such as excise tax increase on tobacco claiming it will worsen cigarette smuggling problem, supporting a pro-tobacco industry bill in parliament.On 12 March 2015 GAPRINDO opposed a ban on outdoor advertising in Jakarta claiming, many Government Regulations cause hurdles to the tobacco industry and a ban on outdoor cigarette ads will be a burden to the industry. (Ref: Harian Ekonomi) However on 20 March, Bisnis.com reported PMI’s PT Hanjaya Mandala Sampoerna Tbk. (HMSP) made a net profit of Rp80.69 trillion (US$8 billion) in 2014, an increase of 7.55% compared to the previous year.
Indonesian Cigarette Manufacturers Association (GAPPRI) Actively opposes tobacco control measures. GAPPTI’s postulates that the cigarette industry would suffer from huge loss because of Government Regulation No. 109 Tahun 2001 about Safety of Addictive Substance in the Form of Tobacco Product to Health.
Indonesia Tobacco Farmers Association (APTI) Mobilises tobacco growers to oppose tobacco control measures. In 2013, APTI staged a protest involving tens of thousands of tobacco farmers in Magelang district, Central Java to reject Government Regulation No. 109/2012 about Safety of Goods with Addictive Substance in the Form of Tobacco Product (Tobacco Regulation). APTI demanded the government cancel the regulation because it will kill the people’s economy, especially the farmers.APTI also opposes the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and urged the government to reject accession to the FCTC. According APTI the tobacco control convention will only hurt tobacco farmers.
Indonesia Tobacco Society Alliance (AMTI) Created in January 2010, the main objective of AMTI is to provide a forum for tobacco and clove farmers, workers, consumers, retailers, associations, and manufacturers of cigarettes to preserve the Indonesian tobacco industry. In June 2010, AMTI together with the ITGA co-hosted the Asia Tobacco Forum for tobacco growers from India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, S. Korea and Thailand. They claim to represent whole of Asia and drew up 12 recommendations expressing their opposition to a ban on tobacco ingredients and urged Asian governments to work alongside other governments to protect the tobacco growing sector.
National Coalition to Rescue Clove Cigarette (KNPK) The National Coalition to Rescue Clove Cigarette (KNPK) actively opposes tobacco control policy, legislation and regulations. It also opposes a ban on tobacco advertising, promotions and sponsorship. The KNPK also mobilised thousands of farmers to protest against the 2012 Government Regulations in front of the Ministry of Health.The KNPK also erected billboards with faces of 10 leading tobacco control advocates in Indonesia branding them as “enemies of farmers” as a tactic to vilify them. Among the so called “enemies” are two former Health Ministers, former President of the Indonesian Medical Association and human rights lawyers.The KNPK exaggerates the statistics, and refuses to accept court decisions on outcome of Constitutional Court claiming the Government Regulations on addictive substances is unconstitutional. After the Government Regulations was approved, the KNPK has been actively trying to derail the implementation of the Government Regulations.
Indonesia Association of Tobacco Farmers Of Klaten (APTIK) Actively opposes tobacco control measures and staged protest in Central Java against the Government Regulations 2012 claiming it will threaten their livelihood.
Association of Cigarette Factories (Gapero) East Java Gapero actively opposes tobacco tax increases saying the government’s plan to increase excise revenue by more than 10 percent wasexcessive and that it would bankrupt many tobacco companies. Their claim is that Indonesia will be flooded with illegal cigarettes, both foreign and domestic and this will hurt the industry and government.In 2015, Gapero claimed pictorial health warning on cigarette pack had caused 3-5 percent decrease in cigarette sales. They warned if the small tobacco business owners were not efficient, they will face challenges and it can even kill the industry.
Malaysia [2]
Malaysia Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietors General Association Actively opposes 100% smoke-free restaurants and eating places.
Kelantan Tobacco Growers and Curers Association (PITAS) Claims to represent the tobacco growers and actively opposed adoption of FCTC Article 9 & 10 Guidelines in 2010.
The Philippines [3]
Philippine Tobacco Growers Association (PTGA) Opposed the Sin Tax Bill
People’s Coalition Against Regressive Taxation (PCART) Opposed the Sin Tax Bill
Philippine Association of Supermarkets Inc. (PASI) This organization proposed that the amended excise tax bill on tobacco and alcohol products will lead to a significant reduction in sales volume once it is implemented.
Thailand [4]
The Thai Tobacco Growers, Curers and Dealers Association (TTA) Opposed the government’s effort to increase pictorial health warnings size on cigarette packs.
Thai Tobacco Trade Association (TTTA) Opposed the government’s effort to increase pictorial health warnings size on cigarette packs.
International [5]
Factasia.org Factasia.org (www.factasia.org) is a Hong Kong based non-government organisation which promotes e-cigarettes and campaigns for its use. A long time tobacco industry representative, Heneage Mitchell is one of the founders of Factasia.org. While it claims to be an independent group, it is funded by Philip Morris International and Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association (TVECA).[1] Accordingly, it represents “adults in Asia who choose to enjoy smoking or other related forms of consumption of nicotine.”Although it claims that it “does not work for the tobacco industry” its views are consistent with tobacco industry views in that it opposes tobacco tax increases and repeats the well-known industry line – “sensible regulation”. It explicitly aims to lobby on behalf of tobacco growers, distributors and retailers.[2] Among the activities of Factasia.org is to lobby politicians to support its cause.
International Tobacco Growers Association (ITGA) The International Tobacco Growers Association (ITGA) is a tobacco industry front group sponsored by, among others, BAT, Philip Morris International and Imperial Tobacco Group. On the surface it claims to champion the rights of farmers, but in reality it fronts tobacco industry interests and opposes effective tobacco control measures. In 2012, the ITGA focused on rallying farmers to oppose the adoption of the report on FCTC Articles 17 & 18 at the 5th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP5). Its main strategy was to mobilise farmers to protest by providing them misleading information and creating fear that their livelihoods will be threatened.The group has been instigating farmers by holding regional forums, in Malaysia in March 2012 and the Philippines in September, releasing false information in press statements, and attempting to undermine the legitimate process of the COP.ITGA’s Asia website claims that in many countries and regions tobacco is the local economy. In reality, in Asian countries tobacco growers generally raise other crops too, so tobacco acreage forms a minute part of total agricultural land, averaging less than 0.2 percent: Malaysia- 0.17 percent, Philippines – 0.19 percent, Thailand – 0.2 percent and Vietnam – 0.19 percent. For more information on the ITGA.
Research institutions [6]
Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), a Malaysian think tank founded in 2010, describes itself as an independent research institute committed to promoting research-backed solutions to public policy challenges.Prior to 2015, it did not involve itself in tobacco control nor publish any materials related to tobacco. However since 2015, IDEAS has started publically voicing strong opposition to tobacco control measures in the mass media, at national and international fora and communications to international agencies. Its position on tobacco is reflective of the tobacco industry’s positions. The Chief Executive Officer of IDEAS, Mr. Wan Saiful Wan Jan, has a fortnightly column in a local English daily, The Star, which he also uses to write opinions that oppose stringent tobacco control measures. Through IDEAS, both Philip Morris and JTI have a strong lobby to oppose stringent tobacco control measures and advocate for pro-industry positions to the government.IDEAS has also issued statements to protect intellectual property and advocated for more business friendly regulatory environment. The CEO has also been a panellist in several sessions of an international tobacco industry event, the 2015 Global Tobacco & Nicotine Forum in Bologna, Italy.
International Tax and Investment Center (ITIC) The International Tax and Investment Center, ITIC, is a Washington DC based institution whose sponsors include the major transnational tobacco companies, Philip Morris International (PMI), British American Tobacco (BAT) and JT International (JTI). The ITIC has conducted research on illicit tobacco trade in Asian countries in 2013 and 2014 funded by PMI. ITIC’s research which was done according to agreed terms of reference provided by Philip Morris Asia Ltd.A critique has been done on both ITIC’s Asia-13 and Asia-14 research on illicit trade in tobacco to expose how there is More Myth than Fact and how the research has Failed because of flawed methodology, error and inflated data.In September 2014, the WHO FCTC Convention Secretariat issued a Note Verbale against the ITIC. In a reminder to the Parties to the WHO FCTC, the Secretariat notes, “ITIC is not a legitimate forum to promote implementation of the WHO FCTC. It is a purported independent think tank that strives to influence governments to adopt measures in contravention of the treaty.”In May 2015 ITIC released the ASEAN Excise Tax Reform: A Resource Manual released by the International Trade and Investment Centre (ITIC). The Manual is a tool for promoting vested interests rather than a tool designed to help governments. ITIC has been actively pushing this manual to governments in the ASEAN region.An academic review of the Manual’s section on tobacco taxation has revealed contradictions and inconsistencies when compared against international best practices and recommendations in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Article 6 Guidelines on tobacco tax and price measures, which 180 governments worldwide have committed to implement. The review was released in October 2015 alerting governments that the manual cannot be trusted.
Oxford Economics (OE) Oxford Economics, (OE), is a UK-based research institute which co-authored the two research in on illicit tobacco trade in Asian countries together with ITIC in 2013 and 2014, both sponsored by Philip Morris International. The research was conducted according to agreed terms of reference provided by Philip Morris Asia Ltd. OE has been actively promoting the PMI funded research to ASEAN countries.
Indonesia: Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (INDEF) The Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (INDEF) is a research and policy studies institution established on August 1995 in Jakarta. INDEF has taken a pro-tobacco industry position in public debates. It has publically supported the pro-tobacco bill in Parliament to protect farmers, but which will undermine tobacco control in Indonesia. INDEF has also made press statements that an increase in excise tax will trigger illicit trade in cigarettes – same fear propagated by the tobacco industry. It has also asked the government accommodate both the interests of the state and the interests of cigarette producers and find a balance.In 2015, INDEF and the International Tax and Investment Center (ITIC) signed an agreement to cooperate on joint programs in Indonesia and in the ASEAN. Among the first ITIC-INDEF joint activity was the launch of ITIC’s Indonesian version of the ASEAN Excise Tax Reform: A Resource Manual, which contains contradictions and inconsistencies on tobacco tax when compared against international best practices.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) This is a multinational professional services network that performs audit functions and has been the financial auditor for PMI Malaysia since 2009. PwC was also BAT’s auditors from September 1998 till February 2015. In Malaysia, PwC has conducted studies showing the economic benefits of tobacco and promoting the business to the public and the government.
Ernst & Young This multinational professional services firm that performs audit work and is often hired by the tobacco industry to perform services for them. BAT for example hired Ernst & Young to help them improve its performance. Ernst & Young provides BAT a process of assurance on its Sustainability Reports.

References[edit]

  1. Tobacco Industry Watch Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, Front Groups Indonesia, Accessed 5 July 2019
  2. Tobacco Industry Watch Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, Front Group Malaysia, Accessed 5 July 2019
  3. Tobacco Industry Watch Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, [https://tobaccowatch.seatca.org/index.php/2015/06/22/front-group-philippines/ Front Groups in Philippines ], Accessed 5 July 2019
  4. Tobacco Industry Watch Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, Front Group Thailand, Accessed 5 July 2019
  5. Tobacco Industry Watch Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, [https://tobaccowatch.seatca.org/index.php/2015/12/09/international/ International ], Accessed 5 July 2019
  6. Tobacco Industry Watch Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, [https://tobaccowatch.seatca.org/index.php/fact-figure/tobacco-industry/ti-supporter/research-institutions/ Research Institutions and Researchers ], Accessed 5 July 2019