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 Smokers’ Anti Illicit Trade Survey revealed that 3.4 million smokers buy tax-free tobacco products.

“Because of the tax on tobacco, people see it as a victimless crime,” said Giles Roca, director general of the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association.

“The problem is nationwide. The deterrents aren’t strong enough to stop people from going out and buying from illegal sources, and there’s also a gap for politicians to take a local leadership role.”

According to Tobacco Manufacturers’ 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 “playing chess with one piece”.

“The illicit trade is a far more potent and dangerous brand of crime than people realise,” added Mackinlay.

“There’s very little point hiking tobacco prices to see legitimate products replaced with knock-offs. I’ll be asking my colleagues to consider this with grave seriousness.”

A Ramsgate newsagent employee said MPs are ignorant on this topic.

“MPs are losing out by ignoring us,” he said. “They’re the people who need to be convinced now, or else billions of pounds will continue to be lost.”

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