A leading market research company, MSIntelligence which helps tobacco businesses around the world to protect their smoking brands and intellectual stuff and provides companies with business intelligence has conducted a study which showed that the trade in non-domestic or illegal cigarettes in Rochdale appears to be dropping. The research is based on a collection of threw cigarette packages from streets and ‘easy access bins’ in the town and shows that the use of illegal cigarettes has gone from an estimated 19.7% in the second quarter of 2011 to 14.0% in the second quarter of 2012.
This appears to be at remotes with national trends as the study also showed that the level of non-duty paid cigs increased nationally from 10.6% in the second quarter of 2011 to 12.4% in the second quarter of 2012.
That means that 14% of all the cigarette packs found in the Rochdale investigation were tax paid or non-tax paid cigarettes from other countries or else they were illegal.
The study does not include hand-rolled tobacco, for which HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) estimates that as much as half of UK consumption is sourced on the black tobacco market. Either way less they were avoiding paying duty to the exchequer. HMRC estimates that it loses up to 3.1 billion pounds a year in tax revenue because of illegal cigarettes sales.
MSIntelligence said that illicit cigarettes are often made in unsanitary conditions which can affect their tobacco content. Cigs recently seized by the UK Border Agency contained asbestos, rat droppings, human faces dead flies, and other substances.
The company also believe cheap counterfeit cigarettes sold on street corners and in ‘fag houses’ means that anybody can have access to them and criminal gangs are known to plainly target kids.
The Government is at present consulting on plans to enforce compulsory plain packs to all cigarette package which, according to legislation enforcement agencies, will only make it easier for illegal to be produced. Last month, the Australian government announced that all tobacco products will have to be sold in plain packs.