There is no question tobacco is one of the world’s biggest killers, impacting countless families across the globe. Fortunately, this week health officials of 135 nations provisionally agreed to a deal to fight tobacco smuggling. The agreement comes after four years of negotiations, according to a WHO news release.
Unfortunately, the United States is not among the WHO member states who have been participating in the negotiations despite the fact that we are the largest producer of tobacco.
Tobacco smuggling is estimated to cost governments up to $50 billion in tax revenues annually.
“Illicit trade in tobacco products is one of the most dangerous trades around at the moment in terms of public health. It’s a way of getting cheap cigarettes, illegal cigarettes, into the hands of young people, poor people, people who are in a vulnerable position,” said Ian Walton-George, who chaired the final negotiations.
The deal is likely to be adopted at a WHO meeting in Seoul in November, according to the article. It must be ratified by 40 countries in order to take effect. That process is expected to take two years.
The agreement was announced by the World Health Organization (WHO), Reuters reports.