In its response sent to the Swiss federal authorities as part of the consultation process, SICPA supports the measures that have been proposed, viewing them as a necessary basis for new regulation on tobacco products. However, it believes these measures need to be significantly strengthened to make them fully effective.
Combating the illicit trade in low-priced, sometimes counterfeited, cigarettes is an important part of health policies aimed at reducing young people’s access to tobacco. To ensure that these efforts are effective, adequate means of control are crucial. “Track and Trace” systems provide such complete control of the supply chain and the draft federal legislation represents the logical legal basis to bring them into force. It should be amended accordingly.
These “Track and Trace” solutions are, in fact, included in the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco control, (WHO–FCTC). This framework convention was signed by Switzerland in 2004 and the Federal Council plans to ratify it during a second stage when the law comes into effect. It lays down certain fundamental principles, particularly concerning the independence of track and trace systems from the tobacco industry to ensure that the controlee cannot also be the controller.
If the authorities reinforce the first measures proposed by adding traceability that is independent of the tobacco industry, they will be respecting the intention of the Federal Council to implement the requirements of the WHO framework convention to combat the illicit tobacco trade effectively and protect the health of its citizens.