The Impact

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Illicit tobacco is a real issue for the UK – so much so that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) estimate that 15% of cigarettes and 28% of roll your own tobacco smoked in the UK is illicit*.

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Illicit tobacco products are unregulated, some have been found to contain asbestos, mould, dust, dead flies, rat droppings and even human excrement**.

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The illicit trade undermines efforts to stop children from having access to tobacco products, those who sell illicit tobacco don’t care who they sell to.

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The illicit tobacco trade seriously undermines local businesses, sales are taken away from law-abiding retailers and they also lose footfall through their stores.

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We all have a role to play to combat the issue.

Don’t be complicit in the illicit trade.

If you are aware of anybody selling illicit tobacco, you should contact HM Revenue & Customs’ Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887, Trading Standards on 03454 04 05 06 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 – or click here to report it now.

Report it now

Measuring tax gaps 2018 edition. Tobacco tax gap estimates for 2016-17. HMRC, June 2018

⁎⁎ Toxic fake cigarettes filled with asbestos and excrement seized by councils. LGA Press release, 23 August 2014