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

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More