A French member of the EU Parliament has said that the Commission’s tobacco-products tracking-and-tracing acts do not take into account the entry into force of the World Health Organization’s ‘Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products’.

In a preamble to two written questions posed to the Commission, Michèle Rivasi said that parallel trade in tobacco resulted in increased smoking, particularly among adolescents, who were more sensitive to prices, and an annual tax loss for EU member states estimated at between €15 billion and €20 billion.

‘The World Health Organization (WHO) considers that the best way to put an end to this phenomenon is to apply its Protocol “to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products,” which was drawn up in 2012 and entered into force on 25 September 2018,’ she wrote.

‘To date, there are 48 parties to this international treaty, including the European Union, which ratified the WHO Protocol on 24 June 2016, following the vote of the European Parliament on 9 June 2016.

‘Article 8 of the Protocol requires, in particular, that a tracking and tracing system be set up for tobacco products which is strictly independent of tobacco manufacturers, who are suspected of fuelling parallel trade.

‘At the beginning of 2018, the implementing and delegated acts on the traceability of tobacco products adopted by the European Commission entrusted several essential traceability-related tasks to cigarette manufacturers themselves.’

Rivasi then asked:

  1. ‘Why do the Commission’s acts not take into account the entry into force of the WHO Protocol?
  2. When will the Commission revise them?’

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