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Juan Yañez is chair of the International Tax Stamp Association (ITSA).
There’s widespread consensus that illicit tobacco products damage public health and thwart efforts to collect tax excise.
Indeed, a recent European Commission report suggests that if all cigarettes sold on the black market were sold legally, the budget of the EU and its member states would swell by more than €10bn annually.
Moreover, markets flooded by illicit products serve to fuel the availability of cheap tobacco and undermine control policies, impacting on public health. So, fighting the illicit tobacco trade must be a key element in protecting the EU and its citizens.
However, the timing and content of an EC scientific report into anti-counterfeiting technologies raises concerns over how this can be achieved, and goes to the heart of the debate over the type of track and trace technologies to be applied as part of the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).