Rates of illegal cigarettes in 2022 jumped by 43% compared to the previous year, costing the Exchequer a record €384 million in 2022
Retailers Against Smuggling (RAS) has expressed grave concerns over the shocking increase in tobacco smuggling in Ireland, as highlighted in statistics published today (26 April) by Revenue / IPSOS.
In 2022, 30% of all cigarette packs held by smokers in the country were found to be classified as illegal or Non-Irish Duty Paid (NIDP), representing a significant increase from 21% in 2021. The estimated loss to the Exchequer on 31.7 million illegal cigarette packs is approximately €384 million (in excise and VAT), and an additional loss of €120 million compared to 2021.
17% of all cigarette and roll your own packs in Ireland have been found to be illegal. This is a marked increase from 13% in 2021. A further 13% of cigarette packs and 10% of roll your own packs have been found to be legal but Non-Irish Duty Paid; up from 8% and 5% respectively, from 2021.
Ipsos released today the results of its annual Illegal Tobacco Products Research Surveys 2022. Market research company Ipsos conduct independent surveys of smokers each year for Revenue and the HSE’s National Tobacco Control Office.
With Ireland ranked as the most expensive country in Europe to purchase duty paid tobacco products, consumers are taking advantage of the option to purchase cheaper products outside the State while travelling and bringing it back. Importantly, the re-introduction of Duty Free on air and sea routes between Ireland and the UK after Brexit has resulted in a rapid decline of legitimates cigarette sales in the Irish market.
Commenting, national spokesperson for RAS and Dublin based retailer, Benny Gilsenan said: “It’s no surprise that the illegal cigarette trade has grown following the introduction of the new Duty-Free area with the UK. Travel limits are poorly enforced at borders and this is clearly reflected in the significant jump in 2022. Add to that the fact that Ireland is a destination market for criminals to sell tobacco and you can begin to understand the shockingly high level that Revenue is reporting for 2022. It’s the legitimate retailers and the Exchequer that are losing out.”
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About Retailers Against Smuggling
Retailers Against Smuggling (RAS) represents over 3,000 small and medium-sized retailers across the country. RAS aims to generate widespread awareness amongst the public, media and decision-makers of the impact that smuggled alcohol, tobacco products and solid fuel has on both the livelihoods of local legitimate retailers and consumers in Ireland.
For more information about RAS, visit www.retailersagainstsmuggling.ie.