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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact 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.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs