In the UK, it’s estimated that 21% of cigarettes are illicit.

There are different type of illicit tobacco activities and these include:


In the UK we have a high level of tax on tobacco. If people buy cheap illicit tobacco then they are less likely to quit smoking.
It is linked to criminal gangs who can be also involved in people trafficking and drug smuggling.
Some evidence links illicit tobacco to funding terrorism. In some communities it is really to buy cheaply, meaning that young people can access it and become hooked at an earlier age.


Tobacco is manufactured without notifying the correct people. This could take place in approved factories but may be produced out of normal hours. It’s then sold at a much lower price.


Smuggling tobacco

This is when tobacco is moved from one place (like a country) to the other without the tax being paid.

Bootlegging Tobacco

When tobacco is legally bought into one country and then transported to another one where the tax rate is higher, so it can be sold at a much lower price.


Counterfeiting tobacco

Tobacco is manufactured illegally with fake trademarks. Tax is rarely paid on these counterfeit tobacco products.