So the World Health Organization is about to pass a new treaty which will try and crack down on illegal trading of cigarettes:
And the anti-smoking bureaucrats have to justify their silly positions and (likely) high salaries, so we have this comment from John Stewart of Corporate Accountability International (whatever that is).
"For nearly five years, Big Tobacco has fought tooth and nail throughout these negotiations in an effort to undermine progress, thwart public health policy and police itself with regards to illicit trade. But the text of the final Protocol reflects delegates' resolve ... to stand together for public health and against Big Tobacco."
Which might sound good for the press, until you read the very next paragraph.
"Tobacco giants Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco have previously said they would back a protocol with effective measures against illicit trade."
The bogus argument that PM and other tobacco companies want to encourage illicit trade is ridiculous. While some illicit trade is people buying genuine Marlboro's in low tax areas and amuggling them to higher tax areas, the much bigger problem is counterfeit cigarettes from China and other places which robs PM of profits as well. Why would PM be against trying to crack down on that?
What is particular laughable is at the same time the WHO is requiring special marking on cigarettes packs to help track counterfeit and illicit trade, they are cheering Australia's proposal to force all cigarette makers to eliminate all brand markings and sell cigarettes in plain olive green packs, which will do nothing to stop smoking, but massively enable counterfeiting.
The good news for PM is that this shows that once again, most anti-smoking bureaucrats and governments care nothing about eliminating smoking. They just want a political issue they can use to demonize "big business" over while lining their pockets with money and taxes from the efforts of those big businesses. What is great for PM and MO shareholders is that the bureaucrats are so predictable, PM & MO can just use them to maintain a virtual lock on the markets they are in by working with them to erect huge barriers to any new competition that would threaten their market dominance.