I am grateful to Mr Worstall for digging out the stat from the bowels of HMRC reporting:
Key findings for hand rolling tobacco (HRT)
• The illicit market share for HRT was estimated to be 38 per cent in 2010-11, with associated revenue losses of £660 million.
So there you have it folks. For roll-ups (where brand is far less significant than for cigarettes) four out of ten of them are made with "non-UK duty paid" tobacco. And most of that is smuggled.
Instead of thinking about the loss of revenue, let's think instead of the children who are taking up smoking because the man in the van doesn't care who he sells to.
The policy has to change. The strategy of bashing us over the head with taxes, health warnings and restrictions isn't working. As we heard (and I reported) recently, in West Yorkshire:
30 per cent of 11 to 15-year-olds had tried smoking at least once...