The Times reports that an undercover study by Japan International Tobacco has revealed one in eight retailers in London is selling illegal tobacco products. As anti-smoking laws are further strengthened, more people are likely to turn to illegal tobacco products, according to the study.
ESTA believes that the illegal smuggling and sale of tobacco poses a health and safety threat to society. The illegal tobacco trade additionally reduces government tax revenue as profits flow into the hands of criminals who also traffic guns and drugs.
“When stricter smoking laws drive up prices on tobacco products, smokers mostly turn to illegal products“, ESTA Secretary General Peter van der Mark noted. “Balanced tax policies are critical to ensuring that people continue to purchase legal tobacco products, not unregulated counterfeit.“