More then 50 percent of illegal cigarettes enter South Africa via neighboring countries, according to government, which recently held a summit on illicit trade in Limpopo.

According to Limpopo Premier Stanley Mathabatha, tackling illegal cigarettes will take combined and cross-border efforts from local authorities and law enforcement.

“The same way in which we are waging war against rhino poaching, we should do the same with cigarette smuggling,” said Mathabatha at the meeting that also included the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI/Hawks), the Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa (TISA) and various government departments.

“If we stop smuggling, we stop cheaper products from entering the market, and therefore fewer children and adults will smoke,” said the National Council Against Smoking in a statement. “If smuggling continues, cigarettes will be cheaper and sales will increase.”

At the end of the two-day summit, a new strategy was developed to help curb cigarette smuggling in the country. Major General Dibero Molatjana, the Hawks’ deputy provincial commissioner for Limpopo is set steer the new plan’s implementation and with the backing of other partners.

Earlier this year the Minister of Health Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi signed an international anti-smoking protocol that aims to snuff out tobacco syndicates worldwide. The protocol would reportedly track and trace tobacco products from the manufacturers to its final destination. – Health-e News Service.

Read more: Who is to blame for flourishing illegal cigarette trade?