New figures from the Irish Tobacco Manufacturers Advisory Committee (ITMAC) indicate that the level of non-Irish duty paid (NIDP) tobacco stood at 28.3% last year, a slight increase from the 2012 figure of 28.2%
Accoding to data compiled for ITMAC by MS Intelligence, 13 of the 22 towns and cities that were surveyed last year had a level of NIDP above the national average of 28.3%.
The research was conducted across 22 of the largest towns and cities in Ireland during 2013. Regionally, Leixlip was the area with the worst level of NIDP last year at 33%, followed by Ennis at 32.8%, Tallaght at 32.5% and Dundalk at 31.8%.
Dublin city centre was measured at 28.4%, just above the national average, while Cork was at 29.1% and Galway 29.6% NIDP in 2013.
A spokesperson for the Irish Tobacco Manufacturers Advisory Committee (ITMAC), said, “The current NIDP figures show how tobacco, on which no Irish tax is paid, continues to thrive across the country. There is a growing availability of tobacco on the black market, on streets and through door to door sales all across Ireland, this is certain. The ease at which illegal tobacco is available to anyone, irrespective of age, who has the €4 to purchase it, is shocking.”
ITMAC said that the increase in excise in the last Budget will have pushed more people from the legitimate market to the illegal market with counterfeit tobacco sellers offering tobacco at half the price with absolutely no regulation, in particular no requirement of ID and no quality checks.
The ITMAC spokesperson said, “The government are currently proposing tobacco control measures such as plain packaging but do not see that the big problem is the ease of access to and availability of illegal tobacco. Plain packaging is an unproven measure that has no actual public health benefits but is certain to grow the illicit trade in Ireland. This makes legislation such as plain packs irrelevant to the nearly 1 in 3 packets of cigarettes that were smoked in the last quarter of 2013.”
Retail Ireland (RI) said an assessment should be made of the potential impact that plain packaging would have on the black market in tobacco, so that the appropriate resources to counteract this are put in place before measures proposed are introduced.
In addition, RI suggests a cross-Departmental group, including the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Justice and Equality, be established to propose a suite of measures to combat the black market. RI also recommends that proposals including the making of knowingly purchasing illicit tobacco a criminal offence punishable by a fine and banning the importation of more than 200 duty paid or free cigarettes for personal consumption should be considered.
© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Genna Patterson