3.4 Million Smokers Buy Non-Duty-Paid Tobacco, MPs Have No Answers
MPs have been left with plenty to mull over regarding illicit tobacco as the 2016 Smokersâ€™ Anti Illicit Trade Survey revealed that 3.4 million smokers buy tax-free tobacco products.
â€œBecause of the tax on tobacco, people see it as a victimless crime,â€ said Giles Roca, director general of the Tobacco Manufacturersâ€™ Association.
â€œThe problem is nationwide. The deterrents arenâ€™t strong enough to stop people from going out and buying from illegal sources, and thereâ€™s also a gap for politicians to take a local leadership role.â€
According to Tobacco Manufacturersâ€™ Association, 70% of smokers purchase from the black market and Craig Mackinlay, MP for South Thanet said that by ignoring illicit trade, the Government is â€œplaying chess with one pieceâ€.
â€œThe illicit trade is a far more potent and dangerous brand of crime than people realise,â€ added Mackinlay.
â€œThereâ€™s very little point hiking tobacco prices to see legitimate products replaced with knock-offs. Iâ€™ll be asking my colleagues to consider this with grave seriousness.â€
A Ramsgate newsagent employee said MPs are ignorant on this topic.
â€œMPs are losing out by ignoring us,â€ he said. â€œTheyâ€™re the people who need to be convinced now, or else billions of pounds will continue to be lost.â€