On the trail of tracking and tracing

| November 18, 2016

An EU-wide tracking and tracing system is due to be introduced by May 2019 for cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco products, and by 2024 for all other tobacco products.

This was the message given by ambassador Tomasz Kozłowski, head of the EU delegation at the seventh Conference of the Parties (CoP) to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

The CoP met last week at Greater Noida, near Delhi, India.

Kozłowski said that one of the aims of the conference was to agree on and discuss critical issues related to the FCTC’s illegal tobacco trade protocol.

By the act of signing in 2013 the WHO FCTC Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, he said, the EU had committed to ratify and implement it. “I am therefore very pleased that the EU can now report on the deposition of the instrument of ratification of the Protocol at UN Head Quarters in New York on 24 June 2016,” he said.

“Not only does illicit tobacco trade drain the budgets of governments and feed into organised crime, but it also severely undermines our efforts to protect public health.

“By circumventing tax and customs duty regulation, illicit tobacco trade offers consumers access to cheaper tobacco products – which in turn increases its chances of attracting vulnerable groups, such as young people.

“Illicit tobacco products are also unlikely to comply with the basic requirements of product regulation, such as the mandatory health warnings on packs, which have been proven to play a role in deterring consumers.

“The Illicit Trade Protocol – as the first international legally binding instrument aiming specifically at tackling the problem of illicit tobacco trade – is a milestone in the FCTC development. It recognises that illicit trade is a global problem that cannot be solved by individual Parties acting in isolation.

“In our view, a key measure of the Protocol is its Article 8, which establishes a global tracking and tracing regime, consisting of national and regional systems, without unnecessary interaction with the tobacco industry.

“In the EU, the Tobacco Products Directive will implement this aspect of the Protocol by introducing an EU-wide tracking and tracing system for all tobacco products.

“The system will be introduced by May 2019 for cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco products, and by 2024 for all other tobacco products.

“The task to establish an EU-wide tracking and tracing system is an ambitious one, and work is already underway by the European Commission to prepare the necessary secondary legislation to implement the system in concrete terms. We are very committed to this task and in particular to make the EU system fully compliant with the Protocol by providing authorities full control over the supply chain of tobacco products to ensure a highly effective tool in fighting illicit trade.

“We sincerely hope that the EU will be soon followed by a critical mass of other Parties in ratifying the Protocol and implementing its vital provisions, notably the tracking and tracing system.

“In order to encourage such a development the EU has also proposed a direct grant to the Convention Secretariat to promote the implementation in EU Member States and key neighbouring countries…”

Category: Breaking News

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