International Agreement Reached to Combat Tobacco Smuggling

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Monday that global health officials agreed to a deal to combat tobacco smuggling. Member governments will have to license manufacturers, and tobacco packages will be marked so products can be tracked, according to Reuters.

The agreement was made at the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) meeting, after more than five years of negotiations. “The protocol gives the world an orderly, rules-based instrument for countering and eventually eliminating a very sophisticated international criminal activity,” WHO Director General Margaret Chan said. “Illicit trade is bad for health because it circumvents measures like taxes and price increases that are known to reduce demand.”

The article notes about 600 billion cigarettes, about one-tenth of the worldwide supply, are smuggled annually by organized gangs.

The United States will not be subject to the new agreement, because the government has not ratified the original FCTC pact.

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