Giles Roca: Cigarette taxation must be stubbed out without delay

The illegal trade in contraband tobacco continues to be a growing carbuncle on the UK’s balance sheet, writes Giles Roca The TMA has just published its third annual anti-illicit trade survey. This is the largest study of its kind. It measures 12,000 smokers’ attitudes, awareness and behaviours in regard to illegal and non-UK duty paid tobacco. The results reveal the true extent of how the government’s high tobacco tax policy is shifting consumer purchases from the legal, duty-paid market to other sources. Counterfeit, smuggled and cross-border purchases cost the Treasury billions of pounds in expected tobacco tax revenue every year and fund criminal networks that make substantial profits from the illegal trade.