Stop the illegal tobacco trade: tell the EP to fight for independent track and trace
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With the active participation of Big Tobacco, tens of billions are lost every year by European states to the illicit tobacco trade. And if the European Commission's latest draft legislation against tobacco smuggling is approved by the European Parliament, the industry will be able to police itself.
Responding to the unacceptable drain tobacco smuggling has on the budgets of member states, the European Commission passed Directive 2014/40/EU, the tobacco directive, in 2014. One of the main effects of that act is the introduction of a publicly controlled, European-wide track and trace system meant to crack down on smuggling. The system, bound by the requirements of the WHO’s Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products would impose the application of unique identification codes on each pack of cigarettes produced in the EU, enabling a comprehensive tracing of that product, from factory to point of sale, under state control.
In late December, the tobacco directive’s derived regulation was published by the European Commission. This text sets out the norms under which the tracking and tracing of tobacco products will be guaranteed in Europe.
Against all common sense, the draft gives manufacturers the ability to oversee cigarettes’ traceability themselves. But as the World Health Organization has warned, entrusting the tobacco industry with ensuring traceability is akin to “putting the fox in charge of guarding the henhouse.”
The text is incompatible with the soul of Assumptions assuring:
- independence from tobacco industry and
- Member States core control role
As well as is in obvious contradiction to WHO FCTC Protocol, specifically to:
- Art. 8.2 that requires that tracking and tracing system shall “be controlled by the Party” and
- Art. 8.12 “obligation assigned to a Party shall not be performed by or delegated to the tobacco industry.”
We call on the European Parliament to veto this draft, which is the fruit of the tobacco industry’s relentless lobbying.
Putting identifier codes on packets and e-cigarette liquid cartridges, overseeing these codes’ placement, managing and submitting data regarding tobacco production in factories: all of these tasks are assigned to the industry.
This is despite the fact that “it’s in the manufacturing plants that cigarette makers are suspected of organizing and supporting the parallel tobacco trade”, as the MEP Younous Omarjee explained.
The only way to stop the application of this act is if the European Parliament's ENVI committee decides on February 20th to subject the legislation to a Plenary Session with all 751 MEPs.
Together, let's tweet these MEPs to remind them to respect the will of their constituents and #SayNoToTobacco!
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