WHO’s Protocol To Eliminate Illicit Trade In Tobacco Products Faces Implementation Challenges

Forbes: The Rise Of Illicit Tobacco
Roger Bate, scholar at the American Enterprise Institute

“…As a result [of the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC),] overall smoking has probably declined, but illicit cigarettes have flourished. … It was inevitable and perhaps necessary that WHO would react to the rise of illicit tobacco. It has established the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products (ITP) under the FCTC in 2012. While in principle sound, the ITP faces numerous challenges in implementation. The primary objective of the ITP is to control the supply chain of tobacco products. … Yet WHO has no expertise in trade policy or overcoming economic objections to health priorities. WHO also has zero experience in combating organized crime. And you can bet that crime organizations and the governments that protect them … will undermine coordination. … [T]he illicit tobacco market is flourishing. Without assistance from international security experts and tobacco producers, and no funds to offer signatories in technical assistance, the WHO’s Illicit Trade Protocol has only a slim chance of being implemented in emerging markets, even if nations ratify it” (9/23).

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