So profitable is the illicit trade that tobacco products are the world’s most widely smuggled legal product today. The illicit trade in tobacco products is a multi billion-dollar business, fueling organised crime and corruption, as well as robbing governments of much-needed tax money.
Internationally 330-660 billion cigarettes a year are illicit – smuggled, counterfeit or tax-evaded. This is 6 to 12% of world consumption, losing governments US$20-40 billion a year in taxes and tobacco companies US$5-10 billion.
In South Africa
If treated as a collective tobacco company, ILLICIT TRADE at 23% market share (2014) would rank SECOND in the SA market place.
Independent research commissioned by TISA estimates the illicit cigarette market in SA at approximately 5.3 billion sticks for 2014. Since 2010, the SA Government has lost well over R21 billion in unpaid taxes (excise duty and VAT on excise) due to illegal cigarettes.