Huge illicit-trade rise in India

    The consumption of illicit cigarettes in India has increased by 90 percent during the past 10 years, according to a story in the most recent issue of the BBM Bommidala Group newsletter citing a report by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

    The report says that because of tax increases that have driven the prices of licit cigarettes higher, 74 percent of smokers are now willing to switch to illicit products.

    And 56 percent of smokers prefer the packs of illicit products, which do not carry the 85 percent graphic health warnings that have to be applied to licit products.

    These findings are part of report by the FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy.

    The report says that illicit cigarette consumption in India has gone from 12.5 billion to 23.9 billion during the past 10 years.

    It points out that the increase in the illegal trade in cigarettes is leading to a huge revenue loss for the government, a loss of business for legitimate businesses, a loss of livelihood opportunities that are adversely impacting farmers, and an increasing threat to national security.