Black market cigarette volume has increased by 300% and one in every six cigarettes smoked in the UK is illegal, KPMG has found.
A surge in illegal cigarette smuggling has driven a second consecutive annual rise in UK black market cigarette consumption, a jointly commissioned study for British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International and Philip Morris International has found.
During 2015, black market cigarette consumption increased by over 6% to reach 6.7 billion, meaning 16% of all cigarettes smoked in the UK are either contraband or counterfeit.
Had the illegal cigarettes been smoked legally they would have been worth €2.8bn (£2.2bn) in tax revenue for the UK over 2015.
Cigarettes smuggled into the UK from Romania increased by nearly 400% during the year, and across the rest of the EU member states lost €11.3bn in tax revenues. “This illegal activity not only comes with a financial cost, but it fosters criminality in local communities,” said Philip Morris corporate affairs director Paul Adeleke.
“Philip Morris International continues to devote significant resources in combating this problem as it strongly believes that effective solutions require solid cooperation between governments, law enforcement agencies, manufacturers and retailers.”