Tobacco Control Capacity Programme

Illicit Trade

How can local capacity to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products be increased, advancing implementation of the Protocol to the FCTC?

The Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products (ITP), the first Protocol to the FCTC, was adopted in 2012. It requires countries to develop tools to secure the supply chain, establish an international tracking and tracing system, improve law enforcement and promote international co-operation. The ITP cannot come into effect until after the fortieth ratification, with an additional seventeen ratifications currently required.

Only one of the countries for which research is proposed in this programme has acceded to the ITP (The Gambia), though work towards ratification has been identified as a tobacco control priority by the governments of both India and South Africa. In addition to protecting government revenues, ITP implementation is significant to efforts to reduce bribery and corruption and to strengthening national institutions and international cooperation to prevent crime (SDG Goals 16.5 and 16.a).

Five research projects are implemented to explore variations in illicit trade in four different countries and at their borders and to quantify the impact of tax on the illicit cigarette trade (e.g. total revenue lost).