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*.
Illicit tobacco products are unregulated, some have been found to contain asbestos, mould, dust, dead flies, rat droppings and even human excrement**.
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.
The illicit tobacco trade seriously undermines local businesses, sales are taken away from law-abiding retailers and they also lose footfall through their stores.
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