World No Tobacco Day 2015 devoted to combatting illegal tobacco trade

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On World No Tobacco Day, the UN's health agency is calling on countries to work together to end the illicit trade of tobacco products.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that one in every 10 cigarettes consumed is illicit, making them cheaper and more accessible to people from low-income groups, as well as to children.

Stephanie Coutrix has more.

Marked annually on 31 May, World No Tobacco Day serves to highlight the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocate for effective policies to reduce its consumption.

In 2015, WHO says the focus is on getting more Member States to sign an international protocol which aims to eliminate the illicit trade in tobacco products.

Here's Vera da Costa e Silva, Head of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Secretariat.

“We have so far eight parties to the protocol, we need 40 for it to become an international law and then make parties cooperate together to eliminate illicit trade.”

The UN health agency estimates that eliminating the illicit trade in tobacco would generate an annual tax windfall of US$31 billion for governments.

In a statement, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that by striking at the criminal gangs and tobacco companies that engage in what he called "this reprehensible trade", public health and sustainable development can be advanced.

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration: 1’09″

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