Tobacco control and smoking

Illegal tobacco

To help smokers to quit and to prevent young people from taking up the habit it is important to reduce the supply and demand of illicit tobacco.  Illicit tobacco has the biggest impact on the poorer, more vulnerable residents of Central Bedfordshire, in particular those living in the most deprived wards.  Programmes to reduce supply and demand have a big impact on motivating smokers to quit and with good marketing increasing footfall to Stop Smoking Services.

Cheap illegal tobacco is more commonly used by people in disadvantages communities.  It facilitates teens smoking and exposes communities to organised crime.

In relation to tobacco products, “illicit trade” can cover a wide range of activities. Key categories include:

  • Smuggling.  This covers the unlawful movement of tobacco products from one jurisdiction to another, without applicable tax being paid.  Therefore, smuggling may involve the movement of otherwise lawfully manufactured tobacco products, as an example when cigarettes are “diverted” from their stated target market to another.  
  • Counterfeiting.  This covers the illegal manufacturing of an apparently lawful and well-known product, with apparent “trademarks”, but without the owners’ consent.  As might be expected, tax is rarely, if ever, paid on such products.
  • Bootlegging.  This covers cases where tobacco products are legally bought in one country and then transported to another with a higher tax rate, in amounts beyond those reasonable for personal use.
  • Illegal Manufacturing. This covers cases where tobacco products are manufactured without declaration to the relevant authorities. In some cases, they may be manufactured in approved factories, unrecorded and/or produced out of normal hours; in others they will be manufactured in unlawful covert operations (1).

Central Bedfordshire Trading Standards get a fair amount of Intelligence in relation to the supply of illicit tobacco (by individuals as opposed to retailers). It is often quite vague and currently they do not have the resource to investigate further.


Last updated Friday, 22nd April 2016