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Countries mull ban on selling cigarettes on Net

Countries mull ban on selling cigarettes on Net

More than 130 countries met Monday to consider whether to ban the sale of tobacco on the Internet as part of an effort to crack down on the multibillion dollar market in contraband cigarettes.
As well as stopping direct sales to consumers, the draft treaty being considered in Geneva this week could ban online vendors from offering raw tobacco or cigarette manufacturing equipment.
Parties to the U.N.-backed 2005 Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which the U.S. has signed but yet to ratify, are also debating how to stop free trade zones from being used as smuggling hubs for untaxed and fake cigarettes.
Experts estimate the market in illicit cigarettes accounts for more than 10 percent of tobacco sales worldwide, costing governments $40-50 billion in lost tax revenue each year.
A report by the Washington-based U.S. Center for Public Integrity identifies China, Paraguay and Ukraine as among the major sources of contraband tobacco products.
The nonprofit group's report, published Monday to coincide with the start of the meeting, said criminal gangs and terrorist organizations are among the beneficiaries of the black market trade.
Some large tobacco companies said they support moves to crack down on illicit competitors, who they claim are flooding the market with cheap, low quality imitations or no-name packs.
"The meeting is a fantastic opportunity to create a level playing field," said Pat Heneghan, head of British American Tobacco PLC's anti-smuggling unit.
A spokesman for Philip Morris International, Greg Prager, said the company too supported the talks but declined to comment on specific anti-smuggling measures.
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On the Net:
http://www.who.int/gb/fctc/
http://www.publicintegrity.org/investigations/tobacco/articles/


Updated : 2021-03-07 14:27 GMT+08:00