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, Brazil's Climate-Change Plan: More Renewables, Less Deforestation

Officials say joint initiative on climate change will allow Brazil, United States to strengthen and accelerate cooperation on issues ranging from land use to clean energy More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

After Nearly a Century, Voodoo Opera Rises Again

Opera centers on character named Lolo, a Louisiana plantation worker and Voodoo priestess 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.
Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishui
X
Abdulaziz Billow
June 30, 2015 2:16 PM
Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs