MORE than 400 million cigarettes as well as 9% of the roll your own market in 2016 has been deemed illegal by the Revenue department.
These figures were released as Retailers Against Smuggling (RAS) launch an extensive public awareness campaign regarding the selling of imported tobacco.
Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer is fronting the campaign, which aims to highlight that purchasing tobacco abroad and selling it in Ireland is a criminal offence.
The poster campaign, which was launched yesterday at Cork Airport, and will be displayed there and on the Dublin-Cork Aircoach route, hopes to remind passengers that they are breaking the law if they sell tobacco products purchased in another country.
RAS hope to highlight that bringing home cigarettes and tobacco from other countries and selling them in Ireland seriously undermines smaller retailers all across the country.
Local shop owner Ger Buckley said that he was not sure if it was cigarette smuggling or new legislation, but it had become increasingly difficult to gauge an order.
“Brand loyalty has been hit and the roll your own cigarettes market has grown a lot in recent times.
“I don’t know if it is cigarette smuggling or the new legislation, but it has become increasingly difficult to tell what will sell.” According to RAS, legitimate retailers, who have paid taxes and duties to sell such items, have lost trade to the black market and this has resulted in a significant drop-off in revenues and “a nationwide rise in what is effectively smuggling. “ Marcella O’Neill, RAS spokesperson, said: “Today is important for retailers across the country.
“Our campaign is designed to deter people who may be tempted to resell tobacco in Ireland without recognising the damage that this causes to shops nationwide.
“It is vital that those travelling are aware that purchasing cheaper tobacco products abroad and selling them on in Ireland is illegal and directly affects their local retailers in Cork.”