Progress In The Fight To Tackle Tobacco Smuggling

The Government has taken another step in the fight against tobacco smuggling as the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury has signed anti-smuggling agreements with two international tobacco manufacturers.

The agreements with Phillip Morris International (PMI) and Japan Tobacco International (JTI) - complement the legislation that the Government introduced in 2006, requiring all tobacco manufacturers to help prevent smuggling through careful control of their supply chains.

Angela Eagle, the Exchequer Secretary, said: "These agreements are an important new element in the fight against tobacco smuggling. In the last decade we have halved the size of the illicit cigarette market in the UK and by signing these agreements, we are demonstrating that we are determined to continue working with tobacco manufacturers to tackle smuggling."

Since the UK's first Tackling Tobacco Smuggling strategy was published in 2000, HM Revenue & Customs and the Border Agency have:
  • Reduced the proportion of illicit cigarettes from 21% in 2000 to 13%
  • Seized more than 14 billion cigarettes and more than 1,000 tonnes of hand rolling tobacco in the UK and abroad
  • Broken up 370 criminal gangs involved in large-scale smuggling
  • Prosecuted more than 2,000 people and issued more than £35 million worth of confiscation orders

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