Oz rogue cigs up says KPMG

John Drummond, chief executive, Scottish Grocers’ Federation.
John Drummond, chief executive, Scottish Grocers’ Federation.

THE first report on illegal tobacco in Australia released since the introduction of plain packaging last year claims the problem has worsened with the tobacco black market now booming with illicit imported cigarettes.

The report, developed by KPMG in the UK, and commissioned by British American Tobacco Australia (BATA), Philip Morris Limited and Imperial Tobacco Australia, said that the overall size of the market has grown from 11.8 per cent to 13.3 per cent and more than $1 billion a year in excise revenue is being lost. The growth of the illegal market is consistent with evidence from covert purchases, it says.
Now the Scottish Grocers’ Federation and others have called on the Scottish Government to reflect on the findings of the KPMG study.
SGF chief executive, John Drummond said: “The figures highlighted by KPMG are alarming and should not go unnoticed.
“Unlike the many predictions that have been made, this provides real data that the black market has grown while tobacco consumption has failed to drop.
“I would therefore urge the Scottish Government to carefully reflect on KPMG’s findings ahead of their planned consultation. It would not be wise to press ahead with a policy which will exacerbate the already prevalent illicit trade in Scotland.”