24 Sep 2008
Resolution from the Regional Workshop on Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products,
Recognizing that illicit trade of tobacco products remains a significant problem in the South East Asian region and that it has a large negative impact on both government revenues and public health,
Recognizing that from a public health perspective, no distinction be made between counterfeit cigarettes and legal cigarettes as both are equally lethal,
Recalling that internal tobacco industry documents and recent court cases against tobacco companies provide evidence of their involvement of transnational tobacco companies in smuggling of cigarettes and the way they had used illicit trade to counter and/or undermine tobacco control,
Emphasizing that tobacco industry friendly action such as lowering tobacco tax is not a solution to decreasing illicit tobacco trade, and that raising taxes is the best practice that must be combined with effective enforcement of anti-smuggling measures.
Acknowledging that governments should take a multi-sectoral approach in addressing illicit trade;
Recognizing that comprehensive data on the extent of illicit trade in tobacco products is not available throughout the region,
Recognizing that in order to build capacity to control illicit trade domestically and regionally, there is a need for international cooperation and that there is some experience in the region that can be drawn upon, example: the Crocodile Project,
Reaffirming the importance of partnering with civil society in the development and implementation of measures to curb illicit trade,
The workshop sees the need for greater dialogue among the countries in
Actively participate in the negotiations of the Protocol to the Framework Convention on Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products (under Article 15) for fostering international cooperation and collaboration in this area. Areas that should be addressed include including mechanism to;
- timely international cooperation (surveillance, sharing of information, technical, legal, and financial assistance, and law enforcement cooperation);
- Encourage countries to include national taxation and other best practice tobacco control policies to complement anti-smuggling measures; and
- Emphasise the need to strengthen partnerships among ministries of health, ministries of finance, national and international customs and law enforcement agencies, and civil society for effective implementation of measures to control illicit trade of tobacco products.
- Recognise the need for an assessment of the extent and dimensions of illicit trade in tobacco products to be undertaken for policy and programme change in the area of illicit trade in tobacco products.
- Aim to hold a national multi-sectoral awareness raising and capacity building workshop on illicit trade in tobacco products.