• June 12, 2024

Anti-smuggling campaign

 Anti-smuggling campaign

The UK’s Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association (TMA) has launched a nationwide campaign to help fight the illegal trade in tobacco products.
In a press note issued yesterday, the TMA said posters would be displayed on telephone boxes in 50 illicit-tobacco hot spots across the UK so those tempted to buy or sell cheap illicit tobacco were warned of the consequences.
The campaign encouraged those who were aware of illicit tobacco, but who didn’t buy or sell it, to report any suspicious activity to HM Revenue & Customs.
The campaign, the TMA said, would be waged also at the UK’s busiest port and various airports to remind people who bring tobacco back from abroad that it was illegal to sell it on without paying UK taxes.
‘The campaign has been developed following research which has found that many adult smokers are unaware of or simply disregard the law,’ the note said. ‘This campaign will therefore “nudge” smokers away from the illicit market by reminding them of what is legal and what is not and raise awareness of the HMRC illicit trade reporting hotline.’
Posters have been put up in 50 locations in Cardiff, Glasgow, Perth, Dundee, London and Manchester, while billboards are being displayed at Dover international sea port and at the airports of Glasgow, Glasgow Prestwick, East Midlands, Manchester, Cardiff and Belfast.
‘Illegal tobacco is a major social problem,’ said the note. ‘According to HMRC, it cost the government £2.5 billion in lost taxes in 2016-17 which in turn puts important public services at financial risk. Moreover, it brings crime into local communities, hurts small independent retailers and the profits from illegal tobacco have been known to finance terrorism and organised criminal gangs.
‘It has been estimated that the sale of illicit tobacco made criminals more than £1.5 billion and cost the small retail sector more than £1.7 billion in revenue.’
“The tobacco industry is committed to helping fight the illegal tobacco market which impacts communities, public services and small retailers,” said Giles Roca, director general of the TMA.
“The Government needs to commit greater resources to tackling illegal trade and needs to consider innovative solutions post-Brexit to halt the flow of cheap foreign tobacco into the country.”