In 2009-10 over 68 million cigarettes were seized by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.
The trade in illegal tobacco has grown in response to increasing taxation and the consequent price rises for tobacco products.
A 2012 report from Deloitte was released with findings about Illicit trade of tobacco in Australia.
The report found that Counterfeit and Contraband tobacco has tripled in one year. A total of 407,000 kilograms was estimated to be consumed in 2011 compared to an estimated 116,000 kilograms in 2010.
Counterfeit cigarettes are fake and are not produced by criminals instead of legal tobacco manufacturers.
Contraband cigarettes on the other hand are counterfeit or genuine packs but have been smuggled into the country and tobacco excise has not been paid on them.
The market size of illegal tobacco in Australia is equivalent to 13.4% of the legal market and a loss of close to $1 billion in tobacco excise. Download the full report below.
- 2011 illegal tobacco report by Deloitte (2,525 kb)
To assist the industry and authorities to deal with the rapid growth of illegal tobacco in Australia the tobacco industry developed a website which outlines the size and scope of the problem in each electorate.
The website ranks all electorates, shows the excise lost and the amount of illegal tobacco sold in each area as well as further information on the issue.
Visit www.illegaltobacco.com.au to find out the scale of the problem in an Australian electorate you are interested in.
Naturally, British American Tobacco Australia has a commercial interest in protecting our market share and sales volume; however, we are equally committed to safeguarding the interests of other affected stakeholders including suppliers, government, law-abiding retailers, consumers and the broader community.
We are working with these stakeholders to ensure that we are doing everything possible to reduce the current illegal activity and prevent any increase in the future.
The World Health Organisation is drafting an Illicit Trade Protocol as part of its Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). British American Tobacco, which for many years has used its expertise and knowledge of the tobacco supply chain to help governments and law-enforcers combat illicit trade, supports the measures they wish to include.
You can read more about British American Tobacco's views on the Protocol on bat.com
(1) Australian Crime Commission, 2011, Organised Crime in Australia 2011, p90.