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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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
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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
Gang members who sold illegal cigarettes on social media jailed for a total of 18 years
At the trial, the prosecutor pointed out that severe prison sentences were justified, arguing that this was not a petty crime, but in fact the work of a major criminal organization.Gang members who sold illegal cigarettes on social media jailed for a total of 18 years
Germany becomes the number two market for illicit tobacco in Europe
Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic and social impact of border closures and lockdowns, consumption of illicit cigarettes increased.Germany becomes the number two market for illicit tobacco in Europe
Preventing illicit trade: PMI’s efforts, progress in 2021, and vision for the future
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.