Blueprint for Tracking

The International Tax Stamp Association (ITSA) has created a blueprint for a global tobacco control system to help prevent fraudulent trade.

“Its aim is to contribute to the work being carried out on the implementation of a tobacco T&T [track-and-trace] system compliant with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and its Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products,” the ITSA wrote in a press release.

The publication of this blueprint comes before the second meeting in Brazil in April of the FCTC working group on tracking and tracing systems.

The blueprint suggests a series of recommendations on operational aspects of a track-and-trace system and assignments of responsibility, including establishing a national and/or regional database to register stakeholders (manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers) and products, and affixing a tax stamp issued by the competent authority of the destination market on every pack of cigarettes. Many tax stamps contain a combination of aspects that make them difficult to counterfeit. The blueprint also aims to fill gaps in the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), according to ITSA.

“We have seen examples around the world where T&T system tenders have been awarded to companies with close ties to the industry,” said Juan Carlos Yanez, chairman of ITSA. “This contravenes the spirit of the Protocol and could result in the implementation of systems that are not safe and secure. If this happens, it will make it more difficult to cut crime, improve health outcomes and enable revenue authorities to recoup taxes owed to them.”