Spain is the sixth country which ratifies the WHO FCTC Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products illicit trade protocol

The Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products is being negotiated as a supplementary treaty to the WHO FCTC and was adopted on 12 November 2012 at the Fifth Session of the Conference of the Parties in Seoul.

In January 2015 six countries (Nicaragua, Uruguay, Gabon, Mongolia, Austria and Spain) had ratified the protocol. The Protocol will enter into force on the 90th day following the date of deposit of the 40th ratification. The EU has been the driving force behind the adoption of the protocol, but has been rather slow in preparing for its ratification. If the EU does not ratify the protocol soon, there is a risk that the 28 EU Member States will be reluctant to ratify the protocol which in turn could lead to less than 40 countries ratifying the protocol before next year.

The objective of the Protocol is to eliminate all forms of illicit trade in tobacco products. The protocol has three parts: measures to control the supply chain, to improve law enforcement and to enhance international cooperation. Tracking and Tracing (article 8) is probably the most important measure of the Protocol. The purpose of a tracking and tracing system is to assist Parties in determining the origin of tobacco products, the point of diversion if applicable, and to monitor and control the movement of tobacco products and their legal status. According to article 8, each Party shall require that unique, secure and non-removable identification markings, such as codes or stamps, are affixed to or form part of all unit packets, packages and any outside packaging of cigarettes within a period of five years and other tobacco products within a period of ten years of entry into force of the Protocol.

More information on the Protocol can be found on the website of the FCTC Secretariat

Luk Joossens, Advocacy Officer, Tobacco Control.

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