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WHO’s Anti-Tobacco Agenda Could Encourage Illicit Cigarette Market, Weaken National Security

The Hill: Corruption and weakened national security: the roles of medicines, tobacco in exacerbating both
Roger Bate, scholar at the American Enterprise Institute

“Efforts to lower smoking and ensure access to medicines are sensible health priorities, but pursued with little regard to wider impacts, they can promote corruption and undermine national security. … [R]ather than acknowledge these risks, the WHO plows ahead in pursuing high tax policies on tobacco, regardless that such taxes can drive organized crime profits. … WHO is pushing a blinkered agenda of anti-tobacco militancy that is driving the illicit cigarette market. And things are only set to get worse as WHO doubles down on this approach [when it meets next week] in Delhi — the WHO Afro region proposes to banish cigarette companies even from being involved in track and trace systems, yet they are the only ones competent to deliver them. The result is a weakening of law and order and the strengthening of organized crime and terror financing. As the largest donor to WHO, the U.S. should demand that it makes sure all experts are at the table regardless of whether they work in the tobacco industry” (11/1).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.