People have died from tobacco-related diseases since the opening of the first FCTC working group on 28 October 1999.
Many industries face a growing trend: new requirements to identify a consumer product in trade, to verify its authenticity and to trace it. The tobacco sector has joined these industries.
The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, a World Health Organization treaty, identifies elimination of illicit trade in tobacco products as a key element of global tobacco control. The treaty requires in Article 15.2(b) that Parties should "consider, as appropriate, developing a practical tracking and tracing regime that would further secure the distribution system and assist in the investigation of illicit trade." Negotiations have begun on a supplementary treaty, or protocol, for combating illicit tobacco trade.
This paper clarifies the concepts, to describe the current use of technology to combat illicit tobacco trade and to identify merits and limitations of these practices. It describes the use of codes and markings on tobacco packaging and tax stamps to allow a better monitoring of the tobacco trade. It also gives an overview of coding technologies that are used, or are in development, in the tobacco industry and other sectors.
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