Traceability of tobacco will contribute to health and undermine smuggling, say S&Ds

STOP written in cigarettes

Today Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament voted to urgently introduce an independent traceability system for tobacco products. Some members of the parliamentary committee on health and environment had introduced an objection that would have delayed the adoption of the traceability system, thus again benefiting the tobacco industry. The S&Ds want to guarantee full implementation by 2019.

S&D spokesperson on this issue, Gilles Pargneaux MEP, said:

"We have no time to waste. Nearly 10% of the global cigarette trade is illicit; this poses severe risks to public health due to increased accessibility and affordability. Moreover, illicit tobacco trade evades revenue collection estimated at 10 billion euros annually in Europe. Tobacco is one of the most smuggled commodities in the world and the profits from illicit trade feed terrorism and international and local crime - including money laundering.

"Europe will have the first regional system to trace tobacco products and will set an example for other countries to follow. Countries like Turkey and Kenya already have such a system and they have had very good results. The credibility of the EU is at stake: we have to deliver and implement an efficient system that fights illicit trade and protects public health."

S&D spokesperson on health, Miriam Dalli MEP, said:

"We know that the track and trace system adopted by the European Union is not the perfect solution but it works well. Objecting to only end up without a system is not an option for us. We would only be playing into the hands of those within the tobacco industry who want to gain time and delay any transparent traceability measure. We can never accept this. It is vital to have a traceability system that is fully independent from the tobacco lobby."