Retailers Against Smuggling calls for action to combat illegal trade

Alliance says retailers have lost €896 million in turnover since 2010



24 April 2013

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Anti-smuggling group Retailers Against Smuggling says its members are losing money every day to the illegal cigarette trade. Following a meeting of its members this week in Dublin, the group called on the government to act on the illegal smuggling of cigarettes. "Smugglers sold 1.6 billion cigarettes in Ireland in 2010," says the group and shop owners have lost €896 million in turnover to the illicit market and a further €400 million in cross purchases in 2010.

The Illicit Tobacco Review 2012 from tobacco producer JTI Ireland states nearly 30% of cigarettes sold in Ireland last year were illegal. Revenue Customs Service seized a total of 95.6 million cigarettes worth an estimated €43.3 million in 2012. "In 2012, 23% of all excise generated for the Exchequer came from tobacco," said JTI Ireland general manager John Freda. "Given the easy access for a growing number of Irish consumers to non Irish duty-paid tobacco products, it is imperative that policy-makers take effective steps to ensure that this trend is reversed."

Freda said cigarettes in Ireland were now 25% dearer than in 2006, but tobacco consumption had not fallen – indicating that people were simply smoking smuggled, illicit tobacco instead of buying legal products. The report is backed by Retail Ireland, whose chairman Frank Gleeson said criminal gangs were making €3 million a week from the sale of illicit tobacco.



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