Seizures of counterfeit and smuggled cigarettes in the State have plummeted considerably this year due to drug smugglers becoming more sophisticated. Hauls of illegal cigarettes are now much smaller and better concealed.
“The market is staying static and the seizures are down, it’s just that the transportation networks have improved,” said Revenue Commissioner Liam Irwin.
The Revenue’s most recent research revealed that the black market trade in illegal cigarettes in Ireland was an estimated 14 % of the legitimate cigarette trade. However, demand for illegal cigarettes is at all-time high, with smokers eager to source packets of 20 for around half the price of a packet on sale in the shops.
Get a FREE Digital Subscription!Enjoy full access to Hospitality Ireland, our weekly email news digest, all website and app content, and every digital issue.
It is believed that smugglers evade detection by placing illegal cargo in false ceilings and compartments built into their trucks. Other instances include gangs hiding quantities of cigarettes in containers then placing lead over them to trick the X-ray machines.
In the 8 months to the end of August 2013, some 24.8 million cigarettes had been seized, valued at just over €10 million. In comparison to last year, 95.6 million cigarettes were seized valued at €43.3 million, and in 2011, 109 million were seized valued at €46 million.