New Report Claims 56 Billion Illegal Cigarettes Sold Across EU

ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has responded to a report highlighting the extent of illegal tobacco consumption across Europe, calling for immediate action to tackle the illicit trade in the UK.

The report, released today by KPMG, claims that over 56 billion illegal cigarettes were consumed in 2014 across the EU, representing 10% of total consumption. Over the last year, more than 8 in 10 illegal cigarettes consumed originated from outside the EU.

According to KPMG, while smuggling of well-known brands has become less common, the number of illicit whites (cigarettes produced legally in one country, but with little to no distribution in another) has grown exponentially from virtually zero in 2006 to 37% of all illegal cigarettes in 2014. The report claims that in the UK, the total volume of illicit tobacco consumed has resulted in a loss to the Treasury of £1.9bn in 2014.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “These figures highlight the continuing urgent need for action to tackle the damaging illicit tobacco market. It is not just the Treasury that loses out when illicit tobacco is being sold, it also has a direct impact on responsible businesses selling duty paid tobacco products, who are less able to invest and grow as a result of the lost revenue.

“Ministers have made significant steps in tackling the illicit alcohol trade over the last two years, but they must now focus their attention on developing a robust strategy to stop the import and sale of illegal tobacco in the UK.”

The full KPMG report can be found here:

This entry was posted by Chris on Thu, 28/05/2015 - 12:40