Philip Morris Limited has a “zero tolerance” approach to retailers engaged in selling illicit tobacco


Between December 2015 and September 2016 Philip Morris Limited has excluded 43 retailers, with a further 7 exclusions pending, from its trade programs and field sales force call base in cases where stores have been found to engage in the sale of illicit tobacco products.

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PML UK Sales Director, Gerald Margolis says: “At PML we are fully committed to clamping down on the sale of illicit tobacco products. We will continue to remove offending retailers from our trade programs and field sales force call files. With the devastating impact on legitimate tobacco traders, the annual revenue loss to the UK government being so high, and the association with organized crime, we hope to engage further with authorities to look for more ways we can assist them in the fight against the illicit trade.”


The NFRN’s Communications Manager, Anne Bingham says: “The NFRN welcomes PML’s initiative and its support for independent retailers in the fight against the trade in illicit tobacco products.


“The black market causes enormous harm to independent retailers and the communities which they serve and initiatives like this that look to highlight and tackle the problem are important in assisting those retailers who only sell legitimate products to those who can legally purchase them.”


Key HMRC data for 2015-2016:

  • Total market share of illicit cigarettes is 13%
  • Total market share of illicit hand-rolling tobacco is 32%
  • The estimated tax gap due to the above illicit tobacco market is £2.4billion


Additionally, PML will continue to support legitimate retailers and distributors with the “EX-IT” strategy to raise awareness of the risks in illicit tobacco products. The illicit tobacco trade has devastating effects on the lives and communities of legitimate and hardworking retailers and it also brings organised crime into local areas. Philip Morris Limited (PML) has engaged with over 7,500 retailers in our anti illicit trade campaign “EX-IT”. In 2016 PML provided retailers with “EX-IT” kits in stores around the country to raise awareness about the illicit trade in tobacco.


Retailers with information relating to the illicit trade of tobacco should contact the HMRC Customs Hotline on 0800 595 000.

Author: kimbarnard

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