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Illegal cigarettes cost Ireland EUR 264 million in a year

16 May 2022. More than one in eight packets of cigarettes consumed by smokers in Ireland last year were illegal, and the number of counterfeit products sold has risen sharply, reports Irish Examiner.

The latest survey, commissioned by the Revenue, found that 13 per cent of all packs consumed by Irish smokers last year were classified as illegal. It was also estimated that 7 per cent of all illicit cigarettes were counterfeit brands - the highest figure since such surveys began in 2009.

According to estimates by the tax authorities, the potential loss of revenue to the treasury from the sale of 22.7 million illicit cigarettes amounts to around EUR 264 million. The potential tax revenue lost due to the trade in illicit tobacco products last year increased by 9 per cent - or EUR 22 million.

7 per cent of all illicit cigarettes last year were classified as counterfeit products, meaning they were manufactured without the permission of the legitimate brand owners. The tax office said such products were intended "to deceive consumers and avoid paying duty".

The vast majority of illicit cigarettes - almost 9 out of 10 packs - are classified as contraband, smuggled into the Republic without paying duties to the tax authorities.

The latest figures show that Irish authorities seized more than 6,500 illicit tobacco products worth over EUR 67 million last year, the report said.