Illicit Trade in Tobacco during COVID-19

Media coverages of illicit trade in tobacco products are typically generated from industry or government sources. A majority of cigarette illicit trade studies are linked to the tobacco industry. A recent UK study shows how “Tobacco companies have been able to disseminate their research to wide audiences in their attempts to increase the public perception that illicit trade is ever increasing, while there remain doubts as to whether this is in fact the case.” This page lists the news articles on smuggling during the pandemic. A quick review shows that smuggling reports are used to justify a relaxation of sales restrictions during the lockdown. Almost all the reports show a disregard for the Guidelines to Implement Article 5.3 of the WHO FCTC which underscores the need to reject tobacco industry partnerships.

  Date

Title

Author,
Publisher

Persons/ Organizations Cited1

Industry Links

      Europe

September 24, 2020

Covid-19 spurs rise in cigarette smuggling, Japan tobacco says

Corinne Gretler and Tiffany Kary Bloomberg Quint 

Ian Monteith, Head of Japan Tobacco’s Global Anti-illicit Trade Operation

Japan Tobacco International (JTI)

      New Zealand

July 3, 2020

Law Changes Treat The Symptoms, Not The Cause Of Tobacco Black Market

SCOOP Politics

Jordan Williams

New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union

New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union

July 2, 2020

NZ’s tobacco black market: Quarter of a billion tax dollars lost

Hurley, S., New Zealand Herald

 

 

        Malaysia

October 1, 2020

Taming The Beast

Stefanie Rossel, Tobacco Reporter

Cormac O’Rourke, General Manager of Japan Tobacco International (JTI) Malaysia

Japan Tobacco International (JTI)

July 2, 2020

Illicit cigarette trade flourishing during MCO period

KLSE Screener

Japan Tobacco International (JTI)

Japan Tobacco International (JTI)

 

The Gathering Storm – illegal trade during Covid-19

JTI

Ian Monteith, Global Anti-Illicit Trade Director

Japan Tobacco International (JTI )

April 26, 2020

No breathing space for tobacco firms as illicit traders get innovative

Li, K.,
The Edge Malaysia Weekly

Jonathan Darlow Reed

 

Cormac O’Rourke

 

Naeem Shahab Khan

 

Heath Michael

Jonathan Darlow Reed 


Cormac O’Rourke


Naeem Shahab Khan 

April 17, 2020

Border security integral in preventing illicit trade

New Straits Times

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin

 

April 16, 2020

Border security during Covid-19 crucial to prevent contagion, illicit trade — consultant

Lin, W.,
The Edge Markets

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin

 

Rohan Pike

 

April 13, 2020

Illegal cigarette dealers seek novel ways to hoodwink authorities

Singh, R.,
Focus Malaysia

Heath Michael

 

        Pakistan

May 20, 2020

Illicit trade of cigarettes: ‘Further rise in share may result in closure of factories’

Sarfraz, S.,
Business Recorder

Noor Aftab

Pakistan Tobacco Company

Noor Aftab

Pakistan Tobacco Company

May 2, 2020

Higher tobacco taxation to help fight COVID 19

The International News

Sajjad Ahmad Cheema

 

Malik Imran Ahmed

 

April 28, 2020

Legal businesses in peril: ‘Higher taxation to boost illicit tobacco trade’

Bhatti, R.,
Business Recorder

 

 

March 18, 2020

Cost of illicit cigarette trade

Ziauddin, M.,
Business Recorder

Muhammad Sabir

 

Hana Ross

 

Hamid Ateeq Sarwar

 

        Philippines

June 22, 2020

P130,000 counterfeit cigarettes seized in Isabela

Visaya Jr., V., Inquirer

Col. James Cipriano

 

May 01, 2020

P200M in fake cigarettes seized in Valenzuela

de Vera, B.,
Inquirer

Ramon Lopez

Juanito Arcilla

Lin Lianci alias Simon Lin

Fred Roeder

Consumer Choice Center (CCC)

Consumer Choice Center (CCC)

April 21, 2020

Cigarette smuggling up despite lockdown

de Vera, B.,
Inquirer

Carlos G. Dominguez III 

 

April 16, 2020

P8.275 million worth of smuggled cigarettes seized in Zamboanga City

Mercado, N.,
Inquirer

Segundo Sigmundfreud Barte Jr.

 

March 06, 2020

P3-million fake cigarettes seized in Zamboanga raid

Lacson, N.,
Manila Bulletin

Segundo Sigmundfreud Barte Jr.

 

        South Africa

September 8, 2020

While waiting on court ruling, Batsa vows to fight illicit cigarette trade

MSN

Johnny Moloto, British American Tobacco South Africa (BATSA)

British American Tobacco South Africa (BATSA)

September 6, 2020

NDZ banned tobacco sales well knowing it would boost illicit trade, her advocate says

The Citizen

Carnilinx Tobacco Company Adriano Mazzotti, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Dlamini-Zuma’s advocate Andrew Breitenbach SC

British American Tobacco South Africa (BATSA)

June 26, 2020

South Africa tobacco ban greeted with cigarette smuggling boom

Chingono, N., The Guardian

Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo

Paul Nyathi

Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA)

The Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association

June 23, 2020

Illegal cigarette trade may reduce economic harm of tobacco ban – govt in court papers

Retail Brief Africa

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

President Cyril Ramaphosa

British American Tobacco South Africa

Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA)

British American Tobacco SA (BATSA) 

The Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association

June 23, 2020

Tobacco ban possibly dangerous for smokers buying illicit cigarettes, says ex-Sars lawyer

IOL

Telita Snyckers

Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma

Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA)

The Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association

May 6, 2020

FITA says tobacco ban is increasing illicit trade of cigarettes

Mavuso, S., IOL

Sinenhlanhla Mnguni

 

Ebrahim Ahmed Adamjee

 

Beverley-Anne Maclean

 

Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA)

Sinenhlanhla Mnguni

The Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association

April 18, 2020

“Illicit trade flourishes whilst legitimate tobacco industry is prevented from participating” – Fita

Vaal Weekblad

Sinenhlanhla Mnguni

Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA)

 

Sinenhlanhla Mnguni

The Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association

April 17, 2020

Spotlight on illicit trade amid Lockdown

SABC News

Tebele Luthuli

 

Business Against Crime SA (BACSA) 

 

April 12, 2020

Shadow economy keeps SA boozing during lockdown

Hosken, G., Sunday Times

Brig Vish Naidoo

 

Professor Cornè van Walbeek

 

Khusela Diko

 

Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association

The Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association

April 09, 2020

Concern about illegal immigrants returning when lockdown is lifted

DefenceWeb

Tobacco Institute of SA (TISA)

 

British American Tobacco SA (BATSA)

 

SA Revenue Service (SARS)

British American Tobacco SA (BATSA) 

Tobacco Institute of SA (TISA)

April 02, 2020

Bheki Cele warns DA-led Western Cape that sale of cigarettes remains illegal

Cilliers, C.,
The Citizen

Bheki Cele

 

Ebrahim Patel

 

Yusuf Abramjee

Yusuf Abramjee

        United Kingdom

May 18, 2020

Retailers report tobacco sales surge as lockdown hits illicit trade

Walker, G., Convenience Store

Ralph Patel

 

Bipin Haria

 

Arif Ahmed

 

 

        Vietnam

April 26, 2020

Illegal cigarettes on the Southwest border increased during the epidemic season

Nguyen, D., Haiquan Online

 

 

April 26, 2020

Southwest border: The price difference, cigarette smuggling increased

Cong Thuong

Mr. Pham Duc Chinh

 

Mr. Chau Thanh Long

 

1Persons/organizations cited are all those that were mentioned or used in the articles listed regardless of their views on the matter. In some cases, a person’s statement /work has been countered by the author or the person’s name may have been used inappropriately to further the objectives/ points of the author.  Those that have established links with tobacco industry are listed under the column on those with industry links.

Do you have information on tobacco industry’s tactics during COVID-19? Let us know. Send us any information at ggtc@ggtc.world or submit here.