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 for adults who would otherwise continue to smoke, moving a smoke-free future to within our grasp.
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.
Smoke-free products can be a much better choice for adult smokers than continuing to smoke, so it is also paramount to protect consumers from fakes and prevent the smuggling and counterfeiting of our products.
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.
This is why we set up PMI IMPACT, a major initiative to fund projects around the world to address and tackle illicit trade. PMI IMPACT fosters cross-sector and public-private collaboration, as it supports a wide range of organizations that fight illegal trade through research, awareness-raising, developing technical solutions, funding equipment, and training and communication initiatives.
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.
To deliver a smoke-free future, it is imperative to eradicate illicit trade wherever it exists.
The STOP ILLEGAL blog sheds light on all aspects of the illicit trade problem, and provides insights from experts around the world.
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Policies should be made in the best interests of the millions of adult smokers who don’t quit
The role governments play in making sure adult smokers have access to better alternatives is crucial. Especially during this period of global economic instability, making smoke-free alternatives more available and affordable to millions of adult smokers who don’t quit is a matter of urgency.Policies should be made in the best interests of the millions of adult smokers who don’t quit
Equitable access to innovation is key to delivering a smoke-free future
Leveraging the latest innovations and technological breakthroughs is central to safeguarding and delivering a smoke-free future.Equitable access to innovation is key to delivering a smoke-free future
Knowledge is power: Why adult smokers should have access to information about better alternatives
Illicit trade makes cheap, unlawful tobacco products easily accessible—undermining efforts to reduce smoking prevalence and protect youth from smoking.Knowledge is power: Why adult smokers should have access to information about better alternatives
Stopping illicit trade requires access to innovations to help drive more equitable outcomes
The world today is going through serious socio-economic challenges. The global economy is facing an increasingly uncertain outlook, and everyone is concerned about how this might impact their quality of life.Stopping illicit trade requires access to innovations to help drive more equitable outcomes
How illicit trade threatens society
The worldwide problem of illicit trade is a serious one. The amount of money lost to illicit flows is staggering: More than USD 2 trillion annually, according to the United Nations (2020). So, it’s not surprising that when discussing illicit trade and its negative effects, we often focus on the economic costs.How illicit trade threatens society
PMI’s focus on supply chain controls and product protection to help prevent illicit trade
At PMI, as we advance on our journey toward delivering a smoke-free future, we know we must increase our efforts to secure both our supply chain and the products we sell. It is an integral part of our work to drive operational excellence, and to protect consumers and our brands from smugglers and counterfeiters. Ensuring our customers are sold only genuine and legal goods is fundamental.PMI’s focus on supply chain controls and product protection to help prevent illicit trade
KPMG report finds European illicit cigarette market continues to grow despite overall decline in consumption
KPMG’s annual study on illicit cigarette consumption in the European Union (EU), the United Kingdom, Norway and Switzerland has reported that while total cigarette consumption declined last year in the EU, illicit cigarette consumption increased in the region by 3.9% in 2021 - or 1.3 billion cigarettes – reaching 35.5 billion cigarettes.KPMG report finds European illicit cigarette market continues to grow despite overall decline in consumption
As adult smokers in France turn to counterfeits, we must focus on raising consumer awareness
In France, evidence suggests that adult smokers are increasingly turning to counterfeit cigarettes. This is mainly due to the affordability of these illegal products, how easy they are to access, and the lack of consumer awareness around the risks of counterfeits.As adult smokers in France turn to counterfeits, we must focus on raising consumer awareness
Protecting consumers: How do you avoid fakes online?
The internet has had a profound effect on how people trade. It has enabled countless legitimate businesses to expand their customer base, providing access to markets across the globe.Protecting consumers: How do you avoid fakes online?
Pandemic caused surge in counterfeiting crime in the EU, EUIPO-EUROPOL report confirms
A joint report from Europol and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has found that the EU’s criminal economy was bolstered by the pandemic.Pandemic caused surge in counterfeiting crime in the EU, EUIPO-EUROPOL report confirms
Raids on clandestine cigarette factories in Europe are on the rise
An organized criminal group involved in the illicit production and distribution of fake cigarettes—destined mainly for the French market—has been dismantled in Slovenia.Raids on clandestine cigarette factories in Europe are on the rise
Standing up to the black market and safeguarding a smoke-free future
The fight against illicit trade continues unabated in 2022. As we begin another year, many of the challenges surrounding this global problem remain as troubling as ever.Standing up to the black market and safeguarding a smoke-free future
2022 offers an opportunity to revamp our fight against illicit trade
This includes public-private partnerships, technological innovation as a disruptor of illicit operations, and concrete enforcement against illicit activities.2022 offers an opportunity to revamp our fight against illicit trade
Fighting illicit trade can help enable equal access to innovation
The value of illicit products flowing globally from cross-border criminal operations, such as the smuggling of arms, tobacco, or pharmaceuticals is USD 2.2 trillion.
The volume of counterfeit and pirated goods stands at 2.5 percent of total international trade.
Between 10 and 12 percent of tobacco products consumed globally every year are illicit, corresponding to an estimated 400–460 billion cigarettes.
Up to USD 50 billion are lost globally every year in tax revenues due to the illicit tobacco trade.