The Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control

COP7 Bulletins

A new kind of COP with new challenges

Oof – that was quite a week. COP sessions are always intense and tiring, with moments when it seems like Parties will never be able to reach consensus.

But this time really was different, with agreement unusually difficult to find on a number of issues.

Plain packaging - tremendous global momentum

Plain packaging is a key tobacco control measure that is seeing significant and growing international momentum. Four countries have required plain packaging, and at least 14 are working on it.

The new EU Tobacco Products Directive expressly provides that plain packaging is an option for the EU’s 28 member countries. At COP7, Sri Lanka’s president announced that the country’s health minister was bringing forward a plain packaging proposal.

Sex, spies and smuggling in South Africa


In November 2013, the South African Revenue Services (SARS) announced that it wanted 15 local tobacco manufacturers and importers to be prosecuted for tax evasion and illicit trade. At stake was R12 billion (US$858.9 million) in unpaid taxes.

About 18 months later, the acting commissioner of SARS, Ivan Pillay, and 55 other top SARS officials, found themselves unemployed— the result of an aggressive campaign against SARS.

Plain packs: "The last battlefield"

In 2008 Tobacco Journal International, splashed ‘Plain packs can kill your business’ on its front cover in response to the UK government consultation on such legislation. The fear wasn’t the threat that sales would be hit hard, but that high end brand values would be terminally undermined. Why? Because, exclusive packaging communicates brand image and differentiates high priced brands from value products’. To quote the article, “‘while the cost of production is roughly the same for both…. the profit margin of premium brands is considerably higher than that of low-priced cigarettes’.

Tools for mobilizing resources for FCTC implementation

As we approach the closing ceremony we all may want to start thinking about how COP7 decisions will improve tobacco control work at national level. Decisions requesting action on resource mobilisation are likely to be considered among the most important of these.

FCA has prepared two documents to illustrate the type of material that Parties could request to be developed between COP7 and COP8 to support resource mobilisation. Copies of these documents are available at the FCA booth.

Smokefree 2025 Aotearoa/New Zealand

New Zealand’s Smokefree 2025 goal is rooted in long-standing concerns among Mäori (the indigenous peoples of New Zealand) communities and leaders about the high rate of smoking-related harms among Mäori.

In 2006 a leading Mäori Party Member of Parliament (MP), Hone Harawira, introduced a private member’s bill to make it illegal to produce or sell tobacco in Aotearoa (the Mäori name for New Zealand). The bill was not successful. However, it contributed to a change in focus of the aims for Mäori in tobacco control, from “auahi kore” (smoke-free), to “tupeka kore” (tobacco-free), led by another Mäori advocate, Shane Bradbrook.

Why parties should embrace implementation review

In the midst of a COP week, it’s easy to lose perspective on just how much the FCTC has already achieved – and on how that achievement happened.

Not so long ago, when the FCTC was adopted, the idea of smokefree bars and restaurants was outlandish in most countries. Now it’s a reality in many places.

Codentify: The tobacco industry's Trojan horse?

The illicit trade in tobacco products is a threat both to government finances and to public health. It robs governments of much needed revenues, and it undermines efforts to reduce tobacco consumption, particularly through the imposition of high levels of tobacco taxation.

Although by definition the global illicit trade in tobacco products is hard to measure with accuracy, it is known to be very substantial. A 2009 study estimated that 11.6 percent of the global cigarette market was illicit. This is equivalent to 657 billion cigarettes a year, and means a loss of tax revenues of about US$40.5 billion.

Implementation should be focus of 2018-2019 budget and workplan

In 2014, the 6th Conference of the Parties (COP) adopted a voluntary global target for a 30-percent relative reduction in tobacco use prevalence by 2025. This goal will not be achieved unless steps to further implementation of the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC) are taken immediately.

Consider a working group in preparation for MOP1

Illicit trade in tobacco products is an alarming issue which undermines implementation of the FCTC. Progress on tackling it could be made at COP7, but only if Parties collaborate. To enter into force, the ITP needs 40 ratifications. At the moment, there are 24 Parties.