Global pact to curb illicit tobacco trade to take effect in September

Geneva: The World Health Organization announced on Thursday that a “game-changing” global pact to battle the illegal tobacco trade would soon kick into action, after Britain became the 40th country to join.
The UN health body said that with the ratification by Britain and Northern Ireland on Wednesday, “the necessary number of parties to the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products has been reached.”
That means the treaty, which aims to create an international tracking system with the goal of halting the smuggling and counterfeiting of tobacco, will take effect after 90 days, or on September 25.
“It’s a historic day in the fight against tobacco,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a Tweet, describing the entry into force of the treaty as “a vital step towards a tobacco-free world.”
When the pact was first announced in November, 2012, Tedros’s predecessor Margaret Chan described it as “a game-changing treaty”.
“This is how we hem in the enemy,” she said at the time, addressing a meeting in Seoul of WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), calling the new pact a major step towards “eliminating a very sophisticated criminal activity”.
About 10 per cent of the global cigarette market is estimated to go through illicit trade, according to Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, who heads the FCTC secretariat.