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U.S. on Sidelines as Nations Launch Negotiations on Treaty to Combat Smuggling, Counterfeiting and Other Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products
Date:2/11/2008

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Statement of Matthew L. Myers President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids: Today in Geneva, Switzerland, more than 150 countries will begin negotiations on an historic international treaty to combat smuggling, counterfeiting and other illicit trade in tobacco products -- a global problem that funds organized crime and terrorist organizations, costs governments billions in revenue and undermines efforts to reduce tobacco use and save lives.

Unfortunately, the United States will not have a seat at the table in these negotiations despite its significant interests in the outcome. That is because the U.S. has abdicated its leadership in the global fight against tobacco use by failing to ratify the World Health Organization tobacco control treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The new treaty governing tobacco smuggling and counterfeiting will be negotiated as a critical supplement to the existing tobacco control treaty, which has been ratified by more than 150 nations. The U.S. cannot participate as a full party in the coming negotiations until it ratifies the existing treaty.

By failing to ratify the treaty and not being a party to these negotiations, the U.S. is leaving its own borders more vulnerable and sending a message to the rest of the world that the wealthiest and most powerful nation is failing to address a global tobacco epidemic that kills 5.4 million people worldwide each year.

Cigarettes are the world's most widely smuggled -- but otherwise legal -- consumer product. Experts have estimated that, in 2006, illicit trade accounted for 10.7 percent of global cigarette sales, or about 600 billion cigarettes. The global scope and multifaceted nature of the problem requires a coordinated international response. There are several aspects to the problem:

-- It is a public health problem that undermines nations' efforts to

reduce tobacco use and its gr
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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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