Illicit trade and smuggling of tobacco products is a major concern in tobacco control. Overwhelming evidence shows the tobacco industry is heavily involved, including some of the world’s major tobacco companies. To identify and eventually halt how a product ends up on the illicit market, the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products (ITP) requires a global tracking and tracing system. For this reason, the industry has a vested interest in controlling any such system that may threaten its scheme to benefit from illicit trade.
This brief summarizes research on industry documents and materials, which reveal that the major tobacco companies are attempting to control the track and trace system through an elaborate and underhanded effort, implemented over years. The brief aims to alert regulatory agencies and government departments and expose the tobacco industry’s tactic in order to ensure that a functional, independent track and trace system can be put in place.