2018-01-12 Time
Friday, January 12, 2018 3:53 pm - 6:53 pm
Trinidad and Tobago
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Posters will begin to appear in about 80,000 retail outlets this week, warning: 'If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!'. All the tobacco firms - including BAT, whose Dunhill and Royals brands are distributed by Rothmans, Imperial, maker of Marlboro and Lambert Butler, and Gallaher, which makes Camel, Silk Cut and B - are contributing. More material is being considered, though this is a touchy subject as cigarette advertising is now outlawed.


The TMA has also launched a Customs hotline for people to report sellers of counterfeits. According to the World Customs Organisation, Britain is the top destination for smuggled cigarettes in Europe. It is also the place where cigarettes are most heavily taxed. Of every £4.50 spent on a packet of 20, £3.80 is duty and VAT. In Spain, they cost around £1.50 a pack and smuggled packs account for just 1.85% of the market there. In Belgium, from where many cigarettes are smuggled to the UK, a premium brand costs around £1.80.


Tim Lord, head of the TMA, says. 'The Government is using high prices to reduce consumption but this only increases smuggling. The consumption of cigarettes in the UK has been falling since the 1970s but, when the Government introduced the tax escalator in 1996, smuggling started to go up exponentially so the long-term decline has effectively stopped. Canada and Sweden have recognised this and have subsequently reduced tax.'


He says a tax cut would also mean a fall in Britain's overall crime figures. Since 1999, the National Criminal Intelligence Service has said underworld figures have been turning from drugs to largescale cigarette smuggling, occasionally to bankroll other organised crime.


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