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WHO moves to tackle illicit tobacco trading

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The World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) has restated its commitment to combat illicit tobacco trading across the globe.

The WHO FCTC arising from a three-day Third Session of the meeting of the Parties to the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products which closed in Panama on Thursday, noted important decisions were taken to combat illicit trading.

“Our meeting this week took important decisions on tobacco tracking-and-tracing systems and approved a road map to conduct evidence-based research on illicit trade”, the head of the Secretariat of the WHO FCTC, who also oversees the Protocol, Dr Adriana Marquizo, said.

“We also agreed on improvements for the reporting system our parties use, which will strengthen the quality of data on the implementation of the Protocol that can help guide future tobacco control efforts”, she said.

According to a statement on the organisation’s website, decisive action was taken to combat illicit trade in tobacco products that harms health and rob national governments of tax revenues that could support public health initiatives.

The Meeting of the Parties is the governing body of the Protocol, which is an international treaty that entered into force in 2018 and aims to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products through a package of measures to be taken by countries acting in cooperation with one another.

According to the FCTC, illicit trade accounts for about 11 per cent of the total global tobacco trade, and its elimination could increase global tax revenues by an estimated $47.4 billion annually.

Representatives from 56 Parties to the Protocol and 27 non-Party States gathered for the meeting from 12 to 14 February to tackle a range of issues from progress on implementation of the treaty to sustainable financing for tobacco control.

Last year, the WHO restated the warning that tobacco in all its forms for consumption remained a threat to life and human well-being.

According to the WHO FCTC, eight million people lose their lives yearly to tobacco either directly or indirectly.

The WHO FCTC Secretary, Sabina Timco, made this known during a press briefing organised by the Network for Accountability of Tobacco Transnationals.

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