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Gone in a Puff of Smoke

Inter-tabac Asia 2014 cancelled by Bali Officials Les than One Week Before Tobacco Fairís Start

(3/2/2014) After protests from many quarters and an official request by Bali’s governor, Inter-tabac Asia 2014 scheduled to be held at the Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center (BNDCC) February 27-28, 2014 has been cancelled.

Westfalenhallen Dortmund GmbH – the German company organizing the event, published a notice on its website that the event promoting tobacco products and accessories had been postponed, despite having obtained all the necessary legal permits.

The postponement took place, according to the organizers, after receiving formal notification of withdrawal of approval from the Bali Police on February 21, 2104 – less than one week before the official start of the fair.

The organizers claim efforts to discuss or receive a clarification on the 11th hour decision from the police of Bali or provincial authorities have been unsuccessful

Saying it was “upset by the current development,” Westfalenhallen Dortmund’s press officer Dr. Andreas Weber complained: "This is not how you treat a foreign event organizer."

Saying the cancellation “smacks of politically motivated arbitrariness,” Weber continued, "the industry does not deserve the postponement of Inter-tabac Asia."

Inter-tabac Asia will now have to seek and announce a new location and date for the trade fair.

Those opposed to the Inter-tabac Asia event in Bali had circulated on on-line petition that gathered 12,000 signatures. The on-line protest was led by Max Vollmer, a Deutscher Jugendschutz-Verband (German Association Youth Protection) activist and Yosef Rabindanata Nugraha of Cigarette-Free Indonesia.

The event was scheduled to be held less than two months after Bali launched stern provincial regulations against smoking in public places and the promotion of tobacco products that would have made hosting the actual conference acutely embarrassing to Bali officials had it gone ahead.

Yosef told The Jakarta Post: “Without the support of tobacco-control activists both in Indonesia and Germany, it would have been unlikely for us to win the fight. This is our victory. To Westfalenhallen: We don’t want the Inter-Tabac Asia exhibit! Just go away from Indonesia and other countries in Asia!”

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