Mission Accomplished: the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products is now a reality!

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The Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) is pleased to announce that with the ratification of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland the necessary number of Parties to the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products (the Protocol) has been reached for its enter into force in 90 days.
This achievement is a milestone in the history of tobacco control, as the Protocol contains a full range of measures to combat illicit trade distributed in three categories: preventing illicit trade, promoting law enforcement and providing the legal basis for international cooperation. 
 
Moreover, it aims to secure the supply chain of tobacco products, through licensing, due diligence and record keeping, and requires the establishment of a global tracking and tracing regime that will allow Governments to effectively follow up tobacco products from the point of production to the first point of sale. In order for it to be effective, the Protocol provides for intensive international cooperation including on information sharing, technical and law enforcement, cooperation, mutual legal and administrative assistance, and extradition.
Today’s fulfilment of the legal requirements for its entry into force, will allow the Parties to hold the First session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol (MOP1) in Geneva, Switzerland, from 8 to 10 October 2018 following the Eight Conference of the Parties (COP8) of the WHO FCTC.
 
An electronic version of the Protocol and an overview page can be found on the WHO FCTC website, in the six UN languages,  here.
 
The President of COP and Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family welfare, India, Ms. Preeti Sudan, has commended governments for their efforts in ensuring the new Protocol entered into force. “By joining the Protocol, our governments are sending a clear joint message that the illicit tobacco market will be targeted under the framework of international cooperation by cost-effective measures that will protect our children and socio-disadvantaged populations from being exposed to low cost and easily available tobacco products”. 
 
WHO Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has celebrated that the conditions for the entering into force of the first Protocol have been attained today. He congratulated the new Parties to the Protocol for their commitment to public health through bold cross sectoral actions. The entering into force of the Protocol will send a clear message of the international community’s commitment to combating illicit trade in tobacco products worldwide. Its implementation will represent an important effort of the need for multilateral cooperation in order to solve international problems. The entering into force of the Protocol represents the first step in the path for the elimination of illicit trade of tobacco products worldwide.
 
Commenting on the accomplishment, Dr Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, Head of the WHO FCTC Secretariat, said: “With the entering into force of the Protocol, we have made yet another step in our global efforts in tobacco control. To tackle illicit trade is to tackle accessibility and affordability of tobacco products, to be more effective on the control of the packaging and to reduce funding of transnational criminal activities whilst protecting the governmental revenues from tobacco taxation. I am very proud of this historical achievement and also to function as Secretariat to two legal instruments.”