People have died from tobacco-related diseases since the opening of the first FCTC working group on 28 October 1999.
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.
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.
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."
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’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.
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.
British American Tobacco (BAT) has become the latest cigarette
manufacturer to sign an agreement about smuggling and counterfeit with
the European Union and member states. Philip Morris International
signed a deal in 2004 while Japan Tobacco International signed in 2007.
The legally binding agreement requires BAT to implement global controls on its supply chain. If the group’s products are found on the illegal market within the EU in sufficient quantities, the manufacturer must make seizure payments.
The Intergovernmental Negotiating Body on a Protocol on Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products' fourth session (INB-4) ended without final agreement, but Parties did make some significant progress.
Parties agreed important provisions to control the supply chain for tobacco products, including a tracking and tracing system for cigarettes and other products as well as a licensing system for manufacturers and others involved in the tobacco trade.
Images from the opening of the third session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body on a Protocol on Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, 28 June - 5 July 2009 in Geneva, Switzerland.