Why is confronting illicit trade key to delivering a smoke-free future?

The world has an unprecedented opportunity to eradicate smoking. Science and technology have enabled the development of better alternatives, moving a smoke-free future to within our grasp. It's paramount to protect consumers from fakes and prevent the smuggling and counterfeiting of our products.

To deliver a smoke-free future, we must ensure that there are no illegal actors sustaining a black market for cigarettes and other tobacco products. Cigarettes, for instance, remain one of the most common illegally traded goods in the world, with as much as 12 percent of total cigarette sales (excl. China) sourced from the black market.

Securing our supply chain

For PMI, eliminating the illicit tobacco trade has been a long-standing priority. We focus our efforts on securing our supply chain and protecting our products. And we do it by leveraging technology and innovation for the better: From multiple applications of authentication and security technologies to track and trace our products across the supply chain, to the use of machine learning to identify and prevent illegal online sales, technology is helping us detect and address illicit trade.

But if we truly want to have an impact on deterring illicit tobacco flows, and protect consumers and our brands from smugglers and counterfeiters, our internal efforts need to be coupled with strong cross-sectoral collaboration and partnerships.

A holistic approach for a successful collaboration

No one can fight illicit trade on their own. Public-private partnerships based on an inclusive, commonsense approach by governments, the private sector, and civil society are vital to helping combat the practice.

In today’s hyper-connected world—with growing concerns around global security, the proliferation of criminal organizations, and the surge of new digital tools—we believe that it’s more important than ever to sustain our collective efforts and promote an inclusive dialogue around solutions to tackle this global issue.

STOP ILLEGAL explores every aspect of the illicit trade problem and its far-reaching impacts, featuring blogs from our leaders and experts in the field.

See our stop illegal blog

Illicit trade in numbers


Leading global efforts to prevent illicit tobacco trade



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Tackling Illicit Trade: It’s time to consider novel policies

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2022 KPMG Report Illicit Cigarette Consumption

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What is PMI doing to confront the growth the illicit tobacco products in France?

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Protecting consumers: How do you avoid fakes online?

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PMI’s supply chain controls and illicit trade prevention efforts (2022)


Fighting Illegal Trade: Why It's Vital For A Smoke-free Future