Task Force Tobacco intensifies efforts to combat cigarettes smuggling

        On 17-18 October the EUBAM‘s Task Force Tobacco meeting took place in Odesa. The event brought together experts from law enforcement agencies in Moldova, Ukraine, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and UK, Ukrainian Tobacco Association “Ukrtutun”, as well as major cigarette producers. Representatives from EU agencies Europol, OLAF and SELEC also attended.

        The participants exchanged views on trends, modus operandi, risks and countermeasures against tobacco products smuggling and shared their experience and best practices in tacking these issues, all agreeing that the cooperation between border agencies needs continuous development, especially in the area of common risk analysis and intelligence sharing.

        A special attention was given to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) – Protocol on Eliminating Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products as an international instrument to combat the smuggling of tobacco products. In this context Moldovan and Ukrainian authorities were encouraged to adopt the Protocol, which will ensure effective control over the supply chain and help to reduce the risks of illicit trade in tobacco products.

        The effective implementation of National Anti-Tobacco Strategies in the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine was also highlighted by the parties as being of high importance and should be accelerated in both countries. In the same time the cigarette producers emphasized their support to these strategies. Therefore, the participants summed up that cooperation between law enforcement agencies and business environment is mutually beneficial for reducing the illicit trade in tobacco products.