The illicit cigarette trade is defined as “the product, import, export, purchase, sale or possession of tobacco goods which fail to comply with legislation.”
This includes categories such as contraband (smuggled tobacco products without domestic duty paid), counterfeit (manufactured cigarettes without authorization from the rightful owners, with intent to deceive consumers) and illicit whites (brands manufactured legitimately in one country but smuggled and sold in another without duties being paid).
Below are the top three reasons why the illicit cigarette trade is dangerous to consumers:
With its lower-than-market price and easy purchase channels, illicit cigarette trade creates affordability for youth. For example; in Canada, illegal cigarettes accounted for almost 20% of all cigarettes smoked by adolescents. In addition, the low price make illicit cigarettes more available. The availability not only encourages youth to begin and continue smoking long-term but also makes it less likely that they will quit.
Cigarette smuggling often leads to the funding of much larger criminal operations, such as drug smuggling or human trafficking. These criminal organizations are attracted to the low production cost, high demand and huge profit margins that illegal cigarettes create. In one example, police estimate that the IRA (Irish Republican Army) was able to make $100 million in the past five years in illicit cigarette trafficking alone.
Illegal cigarettes are not subject to any regulation, nor do they comply with industry standards. Because of this, they pose increased health risks to smokers. The ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) warns that counterfeit cigarettes were found to contain five times more cadmium, six times more lead, 160% more tar and 133% more carbon dioxide. In addition, these knock-off cigarettes are typically kept in unsanitary conditions; some were found to contain dead flies, mold and even human feces.
Governments and brand owners alike warn consumers of the common indicators of illicit cigarettes such as cheap price, unusual taste and the absence of warnings. However, leaving this responsibility up to the consumer can likely put the consumer’s health and life at risk.
DSS and AuthentiGuard are working around the clock to stop dangerous situations such as this. To learn how AuthentiGuard can protect consumers and brands alike, please visit www.AuthentiGuard.com