GUE/NGL MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed the passing of a report that she wrote which could lead to the European Union formalising the World Health Organisation’s Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products.

Her report passed with a solid majority in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee and will now go to the plenary session in Strasbourg in early June for final ratification.

If approved, this protocol would see countries collaborate in the fight against this illegal trade.

Speaking after the vote which coincided with the WHO’s annual ‘World No Tobacco Day’ on 31st May, Ms Anderson said,

“The passing of my report this afternoon marks the next step taken in the fight against the illicit trade of tobacco products.”

“Currently, as the result of a dubious legal settlement, the tobacco industry is responsible for regulating itself. But when this protocol comes into force, the tobacco industry will have to relinquish control of the tracking and tracing of their products. In fact, no aspect of the fight to eliminate the illicit trade in tobacco would be delegated to the tobacco industry”, she added.

“It is vitally important that the EU takes the lead in fighting the illicit trade in tobacco products. Ratification of this protocol would amount to a first step in the right direction.

“It would massively reduce the control the tobacco industry has over its own affairs and establish a viable tracking and tracing mechanism in the spirit of collaboration and information sharing”, says Anderson.

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