The sale of 'illegal' cigarettes and tobacco is growing - according to this article it 'costs' the HMRC "£10 million a day". We all know it's growing and we all know the reasons - high rates of duty and the ease of smuggling. Here's one example from a court case in Bradford:
Steven Brocklehurst, for Mahmad, said his client took over the shop in May last year, at which time it became apparent there were people who, on going abroad – particularly to Poland – would buy tobacco as part of their duty free allowance and sell it on to the shop owner.
“Clearly it was a process that had been going on for some time with the previous owner,” Mr Brocklehurst said.
So these nice Eastern European folk were funding their trips home by gaming the margins between UK prices and Polish prices - a margin made up almost entirely of tax. And the problem is growing - here's the chap from West Yorkshire Trading Standards:
“The fact that so many cheap, illicit cigarettes are on sale is seriously undermining Government efforts to encourage people to quit smoking. In addition those who deal in illicit tobacco are evading tax which has an obvious damaging effect on legitimate business and the wider economy.”
And look at the downside risks - 60 hours community work and a fine of less than two grand.
Denormalisation - prohibition by another name - simply doesn't work, does it!