Keeping the Tobacco Industry Out of the Black Market
When their cigarettes are smuggled and sold on the black market, tobacco companies enjoy two major perks: They save money by paying less taxes and their products become cheaper for consumers. But governments are robbed of those tax revenues and public health suffers. Effective track and trace systems allow officials to track cigarettes from their place of manufacture and trace them to the point where all taxes have been paid—and identify the weak points in the supply chain where product enters the illicit market. Tobacco companies, therefore, have a vested interest in influencing these systems to protect the benefits they reap from illicit trade. To run effective track and trace systems and ward off attempted industry involvement, governments must stay vigilant and remain independent of the industry.