Eliminating illicit tobacco trade is a step towards #EndTobacco and SDGs

Shobha Shukla and Bobby Ramakant, CNS
Contd from Monday
She called on South Africa to ratify the global treaty for eliminating the illicit tobacco trade and substantially increase tobacco taxes to boost public health and to make up for the revenue loss.
Dr MG Thamizh Valavan from Ministry of Finance, Government of India shared that after the country ratified the global treaty for eliminating illicit tobacco trade in 2018, there has been some progress to address the issue. He said that according to the World Health Organization, illicit cigarette market in India accounted for 6% of the total cigarette consumption in 2016-2017, though industry claims are much inflated. Retail value of illicit cigarettes is over US$ 753 million including foregone tax revenues of around US$ 390 million. He said that India is considering adopting the Kenya model of combating illicit tobacco trade, in which all costs to implement the obligations of the treaty to end illicit tobacco trade are collected from the industry. This ensures that all steps taken by the government towards eliminating illicit trade will remain cost-neutral for it.
Rodrigo Santos Feijo from the global tobacco treaty (WHO FCTC) secretariat made an important remark that eliminating the illicit tobacco trade will not only benefit public health and incur more revenues for the government but also help us accelerate progress towards other sustainable development goals. The next important meeting of the global treaty for elimination of the illicit tobacco trade is due in November 2021 now.
(Shobha Shukla and Bobby Ramakant lead CNS (Citizen News Service) editorial team. Follow them on Twitter @Shobha1Shukla or @BobbyRamakant)