One in three retailers in Stoke on Trent found to be selling illegal tobacco

Shocking new research from JTI reveals the extent of illegal tobacco in Staffordshire


An undercover operation conducted for Japan Tobacco International (JTI) in Staffordshire has revealed the widespread availability of illegal tobacco, with 17 out of the 48 stores visited in Stoke found to be selling illegal products.


Additional consumer research[1] also conducted for JTI revealed that more than half (55%) of smokers in Staffordshire say they have bought fake cigarettes.


The investigation also found that nearly six in ten (57%) smokers in Staffordshire had been offered illegal tobacco in the past year, and over half (53%) would not report it if they were offered illegal tobacco, even though it could fund organised crime.


In addition, 43% have bought cigarettes with foreign language health warnings on the pack and 24% have bought tobacco from family or friends who had been abroad.


The operation revealed that the typical price for a pack of illegal cigarettes was £3.50 (versus about £8.00 for genuine products) while a 50g pack of illegal roll your own tobacco (RYO) was either £4.00 or £4.50 (versus £21).


The UK government estimates that illegal tobacco makes up around 15% of the cigarette market and 28% of RYO tobacco in the UK, resulting in around £2.5 billion of lost tax revenue in 2016/17. Since 2000/1, the total revenue loss is £43.5 billion.



[1]450 smokers over 19 years old who reside in Staffordshire responded to JTI’s smoking research conducted by Atomik Research in April 2018

Author: kimbarnard

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