25 September 2018 -­ WHO FCTC Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products – entry into force

(The 90th day following the date of deposit of the 40th instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval, formal confirmation or accession with the Depositary)


European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention (ENSP) congratulates the World Health Organization and the 48 states party on the coming into force on 25 September 2018 of the WHO FCTC Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products.

The Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products is the first protocol to the WHO FCTC and a new international treaty in its own right. It was adopted by consensus on 12 November 2012 at the fifth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the WHO FCTC (Seoul, Republic of Korea, 12–17 November 2012). The Protocol builds upon and complements Article 15 of the WHO FCTC, which addresses means of countering illicit trade in tobacco products, a key aspect of a comprehensive tobacco control policy.

The Protocol was developed in response to the growing international illicit trade in tobacco products, which poses a serious threat to public health. Illicit trade increases the accessibility and affordability of tobacco products, thus fuelling the tobacco epidemic and undermining tobacco control policies. It also causes substantial losses in government revenues, and at the same time contributes to the funding of transnational criminal activities.

The objective of the Protocol is the elimination of all forms of illicit trade in tobacco products, in accordance with the terms of Article 15 of the WHO FCTC.

On 27 June 2018, with 41 Parties, the conditions for the entry into force of the Protocol were met, making this historical moment another step in the battle against the tobacco epidemic. A natural extension of the Convention, the Protocol presents a comprehensive set of tools to fight illicit trade, among them, the establishment of a tracking and tracing system, as well as measures to promote international cooperation, including sanctions and law enforcement.

First Session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products is set to take place in Geneva from 8 to 10 October 2018 and will be the first opportunity for the Parties to the Protocol to discuss its implementation.

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