A full year report published by KPMG UK has shown that illegal tobacco trade in Australia grew by nearly 18% since late 2012. The report found that the illegal tobacco rate reached the highest ever recorded of 13.9% last year, up from 11.8% the previous year. It also estimated that the Australian government is losing the equivalent of €750million per year to tobacco smugglers.
The increase has been attributed to the introduction of Australia’s Tobacco Plain Packaging Bill, which has been enforced since December 2012. In an attempt to reduce smoking rates from 16.6% in 2007 to under 10% by 2018 all tobacco products in Australia have generic packaging with clear health warnings. It has been well documented that Ireland intends to follow suit with a similar bill in the near future.
NFRN (National Federation of Retail Newsagents) Ireland president, Peter Steemers said: “All the emerging hard evidence from Australia is that plain packaging has boosted the illegal trade. In Ireland we already have one of the largest illicit tobacco markets in Europe, yet our government seems determined to compound this problem by introducing plain packaging. It is pure madness.”
The Cancer Council of Victoria claimed that the KPMG’s report was “ tobacco industry-commissioned” calling it an act of “desperation” to avoid a loss of profit. It also criticized the report’s surveying methodology as an “attempt to perpetuate this rumour about illicit trade.”
© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Paul Campbell.