Measures to Control Illicit Tobacco Trade

The tobacco market, like many other markets, is subject to illegal activities, primarily related to tax evasion and counterfeiting of legal products. Since a sizable illicit tobacco market can both deprive governments of much needed revenue and undermine the effectiveness of tobacco control efforts, governments dealing with the issue have developed a set of strategies and measures for curbing tobacco tax avoidance and evasion.  Many of these measures are called for in the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, the first and, to date, only protocol to the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) (WHO 2012). This paper provides a brief review of the key measures, including the rationale for each, their strengths and weaknesses in addressing particular aspect of illicit tobacco trade, and the best way to implement them.