A Balanced Approach
Today, most countries have some form of tobacco control regulation. Since the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (FCTC) came into force in 2005, the pace of regulation has increased.
Black market sales of tobacco products are rapidly increasing, with some 12% of global tobacco sales1 estimated to be illegal, and in some countries, as much as 40%. It is not a victimless crime. Interpol2, the international police organization, says gangs that traffic drugs, arms and people are also behind the illicit cigarette and alcohol trade. The International Tax and Investment Centre3 says some also have ties to terrorist organisations. People who sell illegal tobacco do not pay any excise or tax (depriving governments of billions of dollars of lost revenue), often don’t comply with health warning regulations and have no manufacturing or quality standards. These criminals also actively market and sell to children.
Globally, tobacco taxes provide a source of funds for many governments. In 2019, British American Tobacco New Zealand contributed about NZ$1.62 billion in GST and Excise to the Government.
Read more about illicit tobacco in New Zealand.
As a law-abiding company selling a legal product, we have controls in place over the quality of our products, we pay excise and comply with all local laws.
Given the indisputable health risks of smoking, it’s all the more important to uphold high standards of corporate conduct and demonstrate responsibility in the way we make and sell our products. This has been our backbone as a tobacco company with more than 100 years’ working in partnership with farmers.
1 Industry estimate given by the Digital Coding and Tracking Association.
2 Tracking in illicit goods and counterfeiting, Interpol, www.interpol.int
3 The Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products and How to Tackle It, International Tax and Investment Centre, Second Ed.