• July 24, 2024

U.K. Counterfeit Cigarettes Sales up by One-Third

 U.K. Counterfeit Cigarettes Sales up by One-Third
Photo: BAT

Consumption of counterfeit cigarettes jumped by more than a third in the U.K. in 2021, reports Talking Retail, citing a recent KPMG study commissioned by Philip Morris International.

As a result, the number of counterfeit cigarettes smoked in the U.K. topped 3 billion for the first time since the study began 16 years ago.

“The KPMG report highlights how both illicit tobacco and vapes are becoming increasingly prevalent in the U.K., with the situation getting steadily worse over the past five years,” said Cem Uzundal, head of Philip Morris’ U.K. field force.

“There’s a real job to be done to tackle this issue by authorities, tobacco manufacturers and even convenience retailers, who can help by reporting stores selling illicit tobacco in their area.”

“The KPMG report underlines what my team see on British streets month in, month out: illicit products—particularly counterfeits—widely available for sale,” said Will O’Reilly, a former Scotland Yard detective chief inspector who carries out regular test purchases of illicit products on behalf of Philip Morris.

“Organized criminal groups appear to consider the risk of being caught well worth the prospect of making around £1.5 million profit [$1.79 million] for every container load they bring into the U.K.”