The illicit trade in tobacco is a global problem that is continuing to grow and is increasingly dominated by organised crime.
It is becoming the subject of increasing media coverage around the world and has been the subject of a number of television documentaries and news reports.
7 June 2011 - Channel Nine
The Channel Nine programme A Current Affair reported on the Triad gangs who smuggle into the country.
British American Tobacco assisted the programme makers as the original subject of the investigation had been the illegal 'chop chop' tobacco trade. However, the report uncovered the close links between illegal tobacco and human trafficking. It discovered how the gangs smuggle both cigarettes and people into the country in containers and the disturbing scale of the problem in Australia.
You can watch the programme on the Channel Nine website:
A Current Affair: Human cargo
14 April 2011 - R7 TV
Brazil is one of the largest markets for illicit cigarettes in Latin America. It is estimated that in 2010 around a quarter of the cigarettes consumed in the country were illegal, a trade worth around $1 billion. High profits combined with the difficulties of enforcement in a large country with such extensive borders make smuggling an extremely attractive activity.
Current affairs programme Domingo Espetacular investigated the smuggling routes from neighbouring Paraguay into Brazil and the organised crime gangs that run them.
You can watch the report on the R7 website:
Domingo Espetacular: A grande reportagem (in Portuguese only)
The illegal tobacco trade in Canada is unique. The geopolitical situation of some First Nations communities located along the St. Lawrence River is being taken advantage of by criminal organisations keen to meet the demand for cheaper cigarettes. Communities can stretch across state and national boundaries and gangs are capitalising on special tax regimes, jurisdictional issues and limitations to enforcement capabilities.
Estimates put the value of the trade at around $2.6bn, accounting for about 30 per cent of the tobacco purchased in the country.
1 December 2011 - The Fraser Institute
Conservative think-tank, the Fraser Institute, issued a report on the illicit trade problem in Canada, calling on federal and provincial governments to take more action.
Read their statement and the report on the Fraser Institute website:
Contraband tobacco a growing problem in Canada; new Fraser Institute study provides government with six options for combatting illicit tobacco trade
17/18 November 2011 - CKWS TV
In a two part investigation, Newswatch on CKWS followed Canadian law enforcement's efforts to stop the stream of illicit tobacco into the country and the financial impact of the trade.
26 February 2011 - Ottowa Sun
The Ottowa Sun reported the on trade in tobacco smuggled in to Canada from the United States side of First Nations territories.
Smuggling smokes low risk, high payoff
It is estimated that 1 in 4 cigarettes consumed in Ireland have been smuggled into the country. This illegal trade accounts for around 1.5 billion cigarettes, costing the country €0.5 billion in lost tax revenue.
29 November 2010 - RTE
‘Prime Time Investigates’ examined the trade in an episode first shown on 29 November 2010.
The programme, which British American Tobacco was involved in, investigates the international networks that supply Irish gangs with contraband and counterfeit products. It’s a trail that stretches from the doorsteps of Dublin to Singapore and China and has links with human trafficking and terrorism.
You can watch the programme on RTE’s website:
Prime Time Investigates: Inside Ireland’s illegal cigarette trade
15 June 2012 - Televisa
Mexican news channel Televisa reported that the Surgeon General had issued a health warning advising consumers of the sale of smuggled cigarettes in Nuevo León.
Watch the report:
Televisa: Surgeon General issues health warning about smuggled cigarettes in Nuevo León
It is estimated that more than half of all hand-rolled tobacco in the UK is now either counterfeit or smuggled, and one in five cigarettes smoked is fake.
29 May & 7 June 2012 - BBC
The BBC's Fake Britain programme investigates the extent of fake goods in the United Kingdom. Its third series featured a two part investigation into the fake cigarette factories actually inside the United Kingdom, and the dangers that lurk inside fake cigarettes.
7 March 2011 - BBC
The BBC current affairs series, Panorama, investigated the gangs which are costing British tax-payers four billion pounds in lost revenue each year.
More about the programme and read viewer's comments on the Panorama forum: Panorama: Smoking and the bandits
24 July 2011 - The Mail on Sunday
More than 12 million counterfeit cigarettes were seized by Customs officers in a warehouse on the River Tyne in Gateshead. The counterfeit products were believed to have been imported from China. Had they been sold they would have cost taxpayers £2.3 million in lost revenue.
Mail on Sunday: 12m faked Chinese cigarettes seized by customs as they smash £3m operation
21 October 2011 - Belfast Telegraph
Members of the Northern Ireland select committee were told that illegal tobacco in the province was costing the government £85 million in lost tax revenue a year. It is estimated that 17% of cigarettes and 59% of hand-rolling tobacco used in Northern Ireland is illicit.
Belfast Telegraph: £85m: cost of illegal cigarettes to coffers
Other media coverage
A number of in-depth reports on cigarette smuggling, including its links with terrorism, corruption and organised crime, have been published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, part of the US-based Center for Public Integrity.
Tobacco underground: The booming global trade in smuggled cigarettes
22 February 2011 - Dow Jones WSJ Blogs
Illicit cigarettes flood Into EU from the East