Tobacco Crackdown Aims to Douse Smuggling Efforts

Making supply chain more transparent among goals of international talks
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2008 3:52 PM CDT
In this Jan. 31, 2007 file photo, a Marlboro cigarette burns as it sits on a pack of Marlboro cigarettes in Trenton, N.J.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans, file)
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(Newser) – Negotiators from over 150 countries are working with the World Health Organization to shape a proposal intended to combat the global trade in illegal cigarettes, Portfolio reports. Anti-tobacco advocates say current measures are insufficient to stem the illicit production or smuggling that accounts for 11% of worldwide tobacco sales, and robs countries of an estimated $50 billion in tax revenue.

The proposal would use bar codes or holographic stamps to track cigarette packs through the supply chain, so that the origin of a shipment can be quickly determined. It would also require tobacco firms to disclose the producers of raw tobacco and paper, as well as the wholesalers who buy their cigarettes, so companies providing supplies to counterfeiters can be rooted out.