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World Health Organisation - FCTC
Created on 2nd of November 2005 Last Modified on the 18th of April 2013
In conjunction with other sectors of the trade, the UKTRF successfully lobbied against the World Health Organisation's proposal for a mandatory ban on duty-free sales of tobacco products as part of its Framework Convention on Tobacco Controls (FCTC). Had the ban been implemented, UK operators alone would collectively have lost sales of over £100 million per annum, plus a further consequential loss from the reduced footfall in duty-free outlets. Nevertheless duty-free sales of tobacco products remain under threat in a number of countries throughout the world.
In early 2001 the WHO commenced negotiations on a major new treaty - the Framework Convention on Tobacco Controls. One of the measures proposed was a mandatory ban on the duty-free sale of tobacco products. The UKTRF persuaded the UK Government to oppose a mandatory ban, on the basis that duty-free represented less than 1% of worldwide tobacco sales, and a complete ban was therefore a disproportionate measure. Similar lobbying was undertaken by the ITRC (now ETRC) in Europe and by IAADFS in America, and by many of our sister organisations in other EU states. After two years of intense negotiations, the FCTC Treaty was agreed by the WHO in May 2003 and came into effect in February 2005; the final text includes a provision that signatories may take action to restrict or prohibit sales or personal imports of duty-free tobacco products, but this is not obligatory.