Illegal trade in smuggled tobacco costs global governments £24 billion in lost revenue every year, and in the UK it is estimated that 1 in 10 tobacco products and half of all hand-rolling tobacco are not duty-paid. Potential profits from the illicit tobacco trade are high and there are numerous links between this illegal trade, organised crime and terrorist organisations.
There are different types of illicit trade as far as tobacco products are concerned; the term includes large scale smuggling, bootlegging, and counterfeit or illegally manufactured products.
Smuggling on a big scale involves the illegal transportation and distribution of a large amount of tobacco products, with no tax being paid, whilst bootlegging refers to the smuggling activities of individuals or small groups of people, illegally importing small quantities of products.Cigarettes manufactured illegally are produced contrary to tax or licensing laws, whilst counterfeit tobacco products are manufactured illegally and are also made to resemble the genuine products.
Smoking is the UK's leading cause of avoidable death and disease. Every year, 80,000 people die early as a result of a smoking related illness and one in every two long-term users of tobacco will die early. Cheap tobacco is illegal tobacco and it makes it too easy for children to be able to smoke and become addicted to nicotine.
Should you have any concerns about illicit tobacco, please contact the Public Protection Team at Shropshire Council on 0345 678 9000.
For more information on issues surrounding illicit tobacco and tobacco smuggling, have a look at the following websites:
Ash.org - Smuggling
Ash.org - Illicit Trade
Ash.org - Tobacco Smuggling PDF
Cigarettes are among the most commonly traded products on the black market due to high profit margins, relative ease of production and movement and low detection rates and penalties.
Dealers selling single cigarettes makes smoking more affordable for children
Legitimately produced cigarettes carry invisible security markings to enable enforcement officers to distinguish them from illicit products.
1 in 4 young smokers regularly gets offered illegal tobacco
50% of tobacco bought by 14 and 15 year olds is illegal