News / Health

New Health Protocol Targets Cigarette Smuggling

A man lights a cigarette at a cafe in Hanoi, Vietnam, November 12, 2012.A man lights a cigarette at a cafe in Hanoi, Vietnam, November 12, 2012.
x
A man lights a cigarette at a cafe in Hanoi, Vietnam, November 12, 2012.
A man lights a cigarette at a cafe in Hanoi, Vietnam, November 12, 2012.
Lisa Schlein
The World Health Organization opened for signature Thursday the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products. The protocol, which was adopted by the parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in November, aims to reduce tobacco consumption by cracking down on the smuggling of cigarettes.

The Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products was adopted at last November's World Health Organization Conference in Seoul, Korea, after four years of intense negotiations.

Participating ministers and representatives attended a signing ceremony at WHO headquarters to mark the landmark achievement.

WHO Director-General, Margaret Chan pushed hard for the adoption of the Protocol in Seoul. She told delegates attending the ceremony that one of the most joyous moments of her life was its unanimous adoption, despite efforts by the tobacco industry to prevent it from passing.

"The protocol gives the world a unique legal instrument for countering and eventually eliminating a very sophisticated international criminal activity that costs a lot," said Chan. "It costs a lot for the health of the people in your countries. The protocol sets out rules for tackling all forms of illicit trade, including smuggling and illegal manufacturing."  

Anti-tobacco advocates say they believe the new protocol will help to protect people across the globe from the health risks of tobacco.  WHO calls the tobacco epidemic one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced.  

It notes the worldwide consumption of tobacco is not decreasing and, in fact, is increasing in developing countries. WHO estimates tobacco kills nearly six million people a year. That means approximately one person dies every six seconds due to tobacco and this accounts for one in 10 adult deaths.  

Head of the Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, Haik Nikogosian, said the Protocol obliges states and governments to globally track and trace illegal tobacco products.

"Simply, what is the public health impact of the illicit trade. Of course, illicit trade has a major fiscal impact also for the governments. They are losing revenue," said Nikogosian. "This is also a source of criminal activities. But our interest from the WHO perspective is the public health impact. And the public health impact is that illicit trade is the source of cheap cigarettes and the cheap cigarettes, because they do not pay the taxes, they fuel the consumption."  

Representatives of 12 parties, representing all six WHO regions, signed the protocol during the ceremony. After the initial two days in Geneva, the protocol will remain open for signature at the U.N. headquarters in New York until January 9, 2014. It will enter into force 90 days after the 40th Party has ratified it.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
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 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 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 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.

VOA Blogs