Treaty to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products opens for signature

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Workers in a factory in Bangladesh that rolls locally produced cigarettes, known as bidis, popular throughout South Asia. Photo: IRIN/Mushfique Wadud

A treaty to combat illegal trade in tobacco products was opened for signature in Geneva on Thursday.

The Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products was adopted by 140 countries in Seoul, South Korea two months ago.

The new international treaty is aimed at strengthening cooperation among countries to stop illegal trade in tobacco products through control of the supply chain.

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr. Margaret Chan commended member states for adopting the protocol after four years of negotiations.

"The protocol gives the world a unique legal instrument for countering and eventually eliminating a very sophisticated international criminal activity that 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. It defines actions that constitute unlawful conduct and sets out related measures for enforcement including through international cooperation." (Duration: 32")

The protocol will be available to be signed in Geneva for two days before moving to New York where it will be open for signature until January next year.

It is part of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1'23"

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