UK signs Protocol to combat illicit trade in tobacco

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Reacting to the news that the UK Government has signed the WHO’s Protocol to Eliminate the Illicit Trade In Tobacco Products, ASH Chief Executive Deborah Arnott said:

“This is excellent news. We congratulate the Government on taking this important step towards the eradication of the illicit trade in tobacco.

Tackling smuggling is vital because it undermines health and tax policies by lowering the price of tobacco and encouraging consumption, particularly among poorer, disadvantaged smokers.

We now urge the Government to ratify the Protocol and call on all other EU Member States and other Parties worldwide to also sign and ratify the Protocol to ensure effective implementation as soon as possible. ”



The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Protocol to Eliminate the Illicit Trade In Tobacco Products is the result of extensive international negotiations with all Parties to the WHO FCTC. It was adopted at the conference of the Parties in November 2012.

Although the UK has an established strategy to tackle tobacco smuggling which has been highly effective in reducing the illicit market, because of the international nature of the problem a global response is needed to stamp out the illicit trade.

It is expected that the EU Commission will also sign the Protocol on behalf of the European Union this week.

Link to UN website:
For more information on the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and the 5th Conference of the Parties see:
A briefing on the Illicit trade protocol by the European Smokefree Partnership is available at: