News / Asia

New Treaty Aims to Combat Illicit Tobacco Trade

A woman rolls a cigar at the Cohiba cigar factory 'El Laguito' in Havana, September 10, 2012.
A woman rolls a cigar at the Cohiba cigar factory 'El Laguito' in Havana, September 10, 2012.
Anti-smoking groups are hailing a new international treaty to combat the illicit tobacco trade. Representatives of governments and international organizations Monday, meeting in South Korea, unanimously approved the protocol. The action came on the first day of a meeting of the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
 
The protocol creates a new global system requiring non-removable tracking codes on each pack of cigarettes. That is meant to make it easier to trace producers and distributors of counterfeit tobacco products.
 
Speaking at the FCTC's opening session, the World Health Organization director-general Margaret Chan, urged adoption of what she terms a game-changing treaty.
 
“The protocol gives the world an orderly, rules-based instrument for countering and eventually eliminating a very sophisticated international criminal activity,” Chan explained.
 
The WHO estimates one in 10 cigarettes purchased are coming through illegal channels, costing governments more than $40 billion annually in lost taxes.
 
Cigarette giant Philip Morris International issued a statement hailing the action but saying it is not a "silver bullet for resolving this serious issue."

"Preventive measures not covered under today's agreement, such as regulating the essential materials used to produce tobacco products, should be considered by governments in the national implementation of this protocol," said vice president of communications, Peter Nixon, in the statement released in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The company, which has seven of the world's top 15 international brands, noted that black market tobacco products combined compose the world's third largest tobacco supplier.
 
The International Tax and Development Center in Washington says the counterfeit cigarette industry funds international criminal organizations and terrorists.
 
The action approved Monday by more than 170 countries marks a turning point for the FCTC which, until now, has focused on curbing demand rather than involvement with the supply chain.
 
John Stewart, who directs anti-tobacco efforts at the U.S.-based Corporate Accountability International, says the protocol will help curb smoking.
 
“This is a huge victory for public health," Stewart said. "Illicit trade in tobacco floods markets with cheap unregulated tobacco products which make them more widely available to children and the poor.”
 
To be implemented the treaty will need ratification from more than 40 countries.
 
Francis Thompson, a director at the Geneva-based Framework Convention Alliance, says that will take years.
 
“It is a protocol that will be relatively complicated to implement because it involves multiple different government agencies and ministries. So we won't know for sure how well it works for five or 10 years,” Thompson said.
 
The conference, which runs through Saturday, is also to discuss guidelines on prices and taxes to reduce the demand for tobacco, and look at regulations for smokeless products such as electronic cigarettes.

You May Like

US Gives Malaysia Questionable Upgrade in Human Trafficking Ranks

Malaysia’s upgrade seen as removing barrier to country’s participation in the US-led 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership More

Turkey, US Try to Establish Buffer Despite Differences

Coalition airstrikes in proposed zone would aim to drive out Islamic extremists, allowing targeted area to come under sway of anti-Assad rebels More

Video US: Millions Exploited by Vast Fortunes of Human Trafficking

State Department's annual report calls exploitation 'modern slavery,' brutalizing girls, women into prostitution and forcing men, women and children into low-wage jobs across the globe More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anny from: Toronto
November 13, 2012 3:47 AM
"counterfeit cigarette industry funds international criminal organizations" - Oh please!! When would they stop scaring people with criminals and Arab terrorists every time they need to close a loophole in laws and fill the budgets with our money

by: Anonymous
November 12, 2012 8:34 AM
Hurray! Another product for the street gangs and cartels to use to raise money!! Let's outlaw cream corn and green beans. Then I can get my crack, cigaretts, and veg's at a one stop shopping...

by: Free Nature
November 12, 2012 8:06 AM
The nature of legality and illegality surrounding the natural growth and use of plants should not be in the hands of government ever, particularly when the government is counting on a profit index that is in accordance with a carcinogen like tobacco and the creation of a criminal class on top of it, by making it illegal and inaccessible. The reasoning behind the governments continued effort to control and restrict the use of natural plants while at the same time greasing their palms and lining their pockets with lobbyist money from the addictive, deadly products that are pushed on the American people everyday by the pharmaceutical drug cartels is just another example of the twisted authoritarian control enforcing consumption based on market profits and not on real healthful polices.
In Response

by: RB from: Here
November 12, 2012 10:26 AM
Free Nature, you nailed it!!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs