The Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control

No evidence that tobacco control increased illicit trade in Latin America

By Eduardo Bianco* and Dardo Curti **

Tobacco control has progressed rapidly in Latin American (LA) countries in the last 10 years, but tobacco taxation policies have lagged.

Industry-INTERPOL deal signals challenges to illicit trade protocol

A recent agreement between tobacco industry giants and the world’s largest police organisation, INTERPOL, illustrates Big Tobacco’s zeal to manipulate the recently adopted protocol on illicit tobacco products.

In November 2012, Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) adopted the protocol in order to combat the illegal trade in tobacco. At the heart of the ITP is a ‘tracking and tracing’ system for monitoring tobacco products from production to sales.

Tracking Illicit Trade in Southeast Asia

The trade in illicit cigarettes in Southeast Asia puts populations at risk for greater smoking.

A collaborative partnership among Duke University’s Program on Global Health and Technology Access, the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance and the American Cancer Society engaged investigators in the region in taking measure of illicit trade in tobacco using a common methodology.

Agreement on illicit trade protocol protects public health

Opening plenary 290312 TihOpening discussions at INB5 on 29 March.Parties to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) on Wednesday agreed on a draft protocol to fight the global trade in illicit tobacco. 

The agreement maintains the essential barrier between public health and the tobacco industry, and paves the way for governments to ratchet up the fight against the tobacco epidemic by raising taxes.

FCA gears up for INB5

meeting sign on video screenINB-3 meeting sign (c) FCA, Andrew Kerr
As usual, FCA will have a team of experienced advocates at the upcoming Intergovernmental Negotiating Body on a Protocol on Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products (INB5). We will also publish the Bulletin daily newspaper and organise the Death Clock ceremony.

A pre-INB briefing will be held for FCA members at Maison des associations on the afternoon of 28 March.

Tobacco giant involved in smuggling in a dozen countries - report

A group of investigative journalists is reporting that Japan Tobacco International (JTI) was implicated in smuggling carried out by its distributors in a dozen countries. 

According to the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, "Mobsters were doing business with the firm's Russian distributorship while shipping tons of illegal cigarettes into Europe. Workers felt endangered. Accused smugglers and criminals ran some of its Middle East partnerships."

‘Blood cigarettes’ smuggled in east, central Africa

The activities of rebel groups and corruption in governments that also lack capacity, not differing levels of taxation in neighbouring states, are the main reasons for tobacco smuggling in eastern and central Africa, according to an article published in the journal Tobacco Control.

Based on more than 400 interviews conducted by Dr Kristof Titeca of the University of Antwerp from 2005 to 2010, with smugglers, government and customs officials and others, the article analyses the trade in smuggled cigarettes between Kenya, Uganda, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Although cigarette prices in those countries are low (US$0.6 per pack for the most popular brand), the easy avoidance of taxation fuels the smuggling by traders who work in cooperation with rebel groups, the article says.

Iran takes on tobacco smuggling

Iran government official destroying illegal cigarettes © Mahdi Marizad FARS News Agency

Article 15: illicit trade

Iran’s government recently destroyed 180 million illegal cigarettes, worth $560,000, south of Tehran in an effort to combat tobacco smuggling.

Since Iran implemented health warning labels on cigarette packages in early 2009 and increased tobacco taxes, the country has experienced an unprecedented influx of smuggled tobacco products.

WCO's customs and tobacco report

The World Customs Organisation (WCO) has released its Customs and Tobacco report for 2009.

The report aims to address the global concern of illicit trade in tobacco products in the areas of revenue, health and sound economic development.

The report mainly focuses on global and regional illicit trade in cigarettes plus illicit trade in other tobacco products.