Smoking Out Illicit Trade: How Some Policies Intended to Limit Smoking Drive Illegal Trade (2016)

Author: Roger Bate

Abstract

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that smoking cigarettes is the largest cause of preventable premature death globally. The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) entered into force in 2005 with an aim to lower the death toll.

FCTC has adopted a policy of encouraging developing nations to follow the demand reduction strategy of mature markets in raising taxes and introducing and then expanding regulation on tobacco products. In many cases such policies result in the rise of illicit tobacco (either counterfeits or legally produced smuggled cigarettes), especially where policy changes are implemented rapidly and enforcement capacity is limited. According to KPMG, illicit tobacco makes up roughly 10 percent of the global cigarette market, and the figure is rising.

Read more: AEI Economic Perspectives