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Retailers Against Smuggling Reveal 25% Of Irish People Bought Products Off The Black Market

By Sarah O'Sullivan
Retailers Against Smuggling Reveal 25% Of Irish People Bought Products Off The Black Market

A quarter of Irish people have purchased items on the black market in the last year according to a new poll by Retailers Against Smuggling (RAS).

The findings by the representative body highlight the widespread use of illegal black market products in Ireland.

Some of the products purchased include TV subscription services, coal and other fuels, medicines, supplements, alcohol, vaping products, cigarettes and tobacco.

Cigarettes And Tobacco Products

The poll of more than 1500 people carried out by Ireland Thinks asked consumers how often they purchase items from unofficial sources.

Included in the main findings is that 25% of the population have knowingly purchased goods or services from an illicit source in the past 12 months.


It also found that 37% of those who purchased cigarettes, tobacco or vapes in the past 12 months would be open to buying them from an unofficial source if the price was substantially lower than the legal market price.

The report said that 19% of all who had bought cigarettes, tobacco or vapes in the past 12 months have knowingly purchased them form an irregular seller within that time frame.

In the first three months of 2024, Revenue have made 16 major seizures of tobacco, representing €39 million.

The total value of seizures in 2023 was €58 million.

A survey carried out by Ipsos MRBI revealed that the conjectured estimated loss to the Exchequer on 32.9 million illegal cigarette packs, including rolling tobacco packs, is approximately €442 million.


The government does not currently track seizures of illicit vapes, and RAS has stated it believes this to be a growing problem.

‘Drastic Measures’

Last October’s government budget saw an increase in the price for tobacco products.

With the average cigarette pack now costing €16.75 and rolling tobacco costing on average €23.30, black market prices of €5-€6 threaten local retailers.

Speaking about the results of the survey, RAS spokesperson Benny Gilsenan said, “It’s no surprise that these products are being sold all over the country, but their prevalence is shocking.

“We’ve seen the illegal cigarette trade skyrocket in recent years and the same will happen for alcohol, fuels and medicines if drastic measures aren’t taken immediately.”

Read More: Sale Of Vaping Products To Under-18s Banned By Government

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