Illegal sale affects anti-tobacco measures

Illegal sale affects anti-tobacco measures

Illegal sale affects anti-tobacco measures

Illegal sale of smuggled cigarettes in roadside shops in major cities threatens to wipe out the benefits of anti-tobacco measures, implemented by the government for a decade.

While close to 600 billion cigarettes are globally sold illegally every year, the World Health Organisation suspects a sharp rise in the illicit trade in India, where seizure of smuggled cigarettes increased by four times during last  year.

The thriving black market does not offer any data for analysis. But the seizure made by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence provides a proxy. The total value of seized cigarettes was Rs 7.98 crore in 2012, which increased to Rs 12.69 crore in 2013 but jumped to Rs 44.14 crore in 2014.

Importers, distributors, retailers, criminal syndicates are among the identified offenders in these seizures, the WHO says .

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