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Nations to Launch Negotiations on Treaty to Combat Illicit Tobacco Trade
Date:2/11/2008

International Cooperation Can Save Lives and Billions of Dollars

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, Feb. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On, February 11, representatives from more than 150 countries will begin negotiations here on an historic international treaty to combat illicit trade in tobacco products - a massive global problem that undermines efforts to reduce tobacco use and save lives, helps fund organized crime and terrorist organizations, and costs governments billions in revenue.

The Framework Convention Alliance (FCA), an international alliance of more than 300 non-governmental organizations, urges countries to negotiate a strong treaty that can help reduce tobacco use and its devastating health and financial consequences around the world.

Tobacco use currently claims more than five million lives worldwide each year, and that number is projected to double by 2020, with 70 percent of these deaths in developing nations, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).(1) It also costs nations huge sums annually in health care costs and lost productivity.

Illicit trade refers primarily to the smuggling and counterfeiting of tobacco products, which are the world's most widely smuggled legal consumer product. The illicit trade treaty will be a supplementary treaty, or protocol, to the existing WHO tobacco control treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which became international law in February 2005.

The FCTC obligates ratifying nations, which now number 152, to implement effective measures to reduce tobacco use, including higher tobacco taxes, strong health warnings, laws requiring smoke-free workplaces and public places, and bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. However, illicit tobacco trade undermines the effectiveness of many of these measures, especially higher tobacco taxes, and encourages smoking, especially among price-sensitive young people, by making cigarettes available cheaply. '/>"/>

SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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