Ahead of World No Tobacco Day on May 31, 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) called for action against the illicit tobacco trade. Alvise Giustiniani, Vice President, Illicit Trade Strategies & Prevention, Philip Morris International made the following statement welcoming the WHO’s focus on tackling this problem:
“We welcome the World Health Organization’s focus on the serious problem of the illegal, unregulated tobacco trade on this year’s World No Tobacco Day. The criminals behind this illegal activity rob governments and taxpayers of billions in tax revenues, make tobacco available to minors and damage legal businesses.
“Criminals are the only ones profiting from the global problem of illegal cigarette trade. We’ve made doing our part to tackle this problem a priority because it’s the right thing to do and because it makes business sense. We support strict regulation and enforcement measures, sponsor public awareness campaigns, conduct research and share findings with law enforcement, and implement strong controls in our own value chain. For example, we have invested over USD150 million implementing a state-of-the-art tracking and tracing solution to secure our supply chain. With this technology, we’ve tracked the movement of more than 500 million master cases of our products in over 120 countries. We have also trained over 11 thousand law enforcement officers worldwide to help them improve their ability to assess the authenticity of products bearing our brands.
“While a lot has been accomplished so far, the illegal cigarette trade is a complex, challenging and growing global issue that can only be solved by the industry, governments, law enforcement and civil society continuously working together to make every day ‘World No Illegal Tobacco Day.’”