VISA successfully fights the tobacco industry
The Cabinet of Ministers of 21 June 2013 took note that “an international tobacco company from Dubai would set up a tobacco manufacturing plant in the Freeport of Mauritius for export to African countries”. It was persistently rumoured that the tobacco company would also manufacture chewing tobacco.
VISA strongly opposed the setting up of the tobacco manufacturing plant and undertook the following actions in view of sensitizing the public and mobilizing support:
On 26 June 2013, VISA sent a mail to the Prime Minister of Mauritius, protesting against the setting up of the tobacco manufacturing plant. Click here to know the reasons given to the Prime Minister against the manufacturing plant
The mail sent to the Prime Minister was copied to Ministries, international organizations and the press, as follows:
- Ministry of Health and Quality of Life;
- Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security;
- Ministry of Finance and Economic Development;
- Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection;
- Ministry of Edication and Human Resources;
- Ministry of Youth and Sports;
- Ministry of Business, enterprise and Cooperatives;
- Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare;
- World Health Organization (WHO);
- United Nations Development Fund (UNDP);
- Framework Convention Alliance (FCA);
- African Tobacco Control Alliance (ATCA);
- Le Matinal (local newspaper);
- L’Express (local newspaper);
- Le Defi Plus (local newspaper); and
- Le Mauricien (local newspaper).
On 28 June 2013, the local newspaper “Le Mauricien” published an article on the issue. Click here to read the article.
On 5 July 2013, VISA launched an international petition with the collaboration of Action on Smoking or Health (ASH), Washington, USA, in view of mobilizing global support against the project. Click here to read the petition.
On 8 July 2013, VISA launched a second petition in collaboration with the African Tobacco Control Alliance (ATCA). Click here to read the petition.
The two petitions were endorsed respectively by 183 and 50 organizations/tobacco control advocates, amounting to a total of 233 petitioners from 46 different countries, including 19 from Africa.
On 17 July 2013, the Prime Minister of Mauritius was informed of the wide condemnation of the project by the global community and VISA requested that he did not approve the setting up of the tobacco manufacturing plant in the free port of Mauritius. Click here to read the mail to the Prime Minister.
On 15 October 2013, VISA received a reply from the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security, in response to its mail of 26 June 2013 to the Prime Minister, which stated the following:
“Cigarette is a legal product worldwide and smokers will purchase the product whether manufactured in Mauritius or in any other country. Normal import procedures need to be followed for transfer of goods from the Freeport for sale on the domestic market. For tobacco products, an import licence from Tobacco Board is required. Any company will have to adhere to the legal framework in Mauritius.”
On 25 October 2013, VISA protested with the Prime Minister of Mauritius against the stand of the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security which completely ignored the concerns of the global tobacco control community and the serious health, social, economic and environmental consequences of tobacco use. The international press was also informed of the stand of the above Ministry. Click here to read the mail to the Prime Minister.
In January 2014, the online issue “Online First” (Volume 23, Issue 1) of Tobacco Control, a publication of the prestigious British Medical Journal (BMJ), reported on the fight of VISA against the setting of the tobacco manufacturing plant in Mauritius. Click here to read the article.
article in FCA bultin. click here
Plans to establish the tobacco manufacturing plant has now been abandoned.