BIG Tobacco and the smugglers

in the press

cigarettesmuggling (1)

uk and one world thumbIn an information sheet on its website, the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association (TMA) draws a link between the illegal cigarette trade and prostitution, arms trafficking and terrorism. Given the number of people killed by their trade, it’s hard to believe that the TMA is motivated by altruism. So why do these companies campaign against black-market cigarettes? One answer is that they eat into profits. But the scale of the problem also allows Big Tobacco to argue for lower taxes on its products. From the TMA’s website:
“The UK’s high tobacco tax policy has provided economic incentives for criminals to meet the demand that exists for cheap tobacco products. This has implications for Government revenue and for law and order. It threatens the livelihoods of many legitimate businesses, in particular independent tobacco retailers.”
The TMA’s claim is that the Government could reduce the amount of illegal trade by lowering taxes on tobacco. It’s an argument Big Tobacco has been losing for years. Meanwhile, the anti-smoking lobby Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has produced a briefing that accuses Big Tobacco of complicity in the illegal trade. It claims that tobacco companies are flooding foreign markets with non-counterfeit cigarettes and rolling tobacco, thus bolstering the black market in the UK. Why would big tobacco companies do that? To make money from sales to smugglers, obviously. But also so they can argue for lower taxes. Read full article


Daniel Jackson (03 June 2015) Big Tobacco and the smugglers: do you believe this conspiracy theory? [editorial]. Retrieved from


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