How to Recognise Illegal Cigarettes

There are a few simple ways to spot an illegal pack of cigarettes from a legal one. 

  • The clearest indicator of illicit cigarettes is price. The minimum collectable tax (MCT) on a packet of 20 cigarettes is currently R 19.16 (R 16.66 excise duty plus R 2.50 VAT on the excise duty). Packs of cigarettes selling below MCT can be regarded as duty-not-paid and therefore illicit.
  • There is no excise marking embossed or printed anywhere on the pack.
  • There are no health warnings on the pack.
  • The quit line number is incorrect or missing: (011) 720-3145 OR +27 (11) 720-3145 OR +27 (0) 11 720-3145
  • The Tar and Nicotine readings on the pack are higher than 12 mg Tar and 1,2 mg Nicotine and/or not printed on one of the long sides of the pack.
  • The words “Reduced Ignition Propensity” are not printed anywhere on the pack (in force as of 16 November 2012)


Any information received on the TISA Hotline, will be forwarded to relevant law enforcement authorities.

Court judgement relating to the illegal cigarette trade
Eastern Cape High Court Judgement 2015